Security and risk analysis student uses classroom knowledge in Canon internship

Emma Riglin
August 01, 2019

Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of articles about students in the College of Information Sciences and Technology completing internships this summer.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Paola Macias is spending her summer working with Canon as a general affairs intern. A rising Penn State senior studying security and risk analysis (SRA) in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, Macias monitors Genetec, an information security platform that develops software, hardware, and cloud-based services for Canon. She also grants technology access levels to employees, assesses risk for new procedures, and conducts internal auditing on security procedures.

Paola Macias

Paola Macias, a senior studying security and risk analysis in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, is spending her summer working as a general affairs intern with Canon.

IMAGE: Provided

While she holds many responsibilities in her day-to-day duties, Macias said that the biggest thing she has taken away from her internship is the level of preparedness she had going in — thanks to her Penn State education.

“The College of IST prepared me for this internship by teaching me real-life skills, like being a team player and being able to multi-task, [which is] needed to succeed in the corporate world,” she said. “Throughout my three years, many professors have shared their personal experiences handling different types of situations so whenever I come across a similar one, I know what my next move should be.”

“The College of IST prepared me for this internship by teaching me real-life skills, like being a team player and being able to multi-task, [which is] needed to succeed in the corporate world."

— Paola Macias, Penn State senior studying security and risk analysis and intern at Canon

Macias learned many of the skills needed to succeed in her internship through her IST classes. The thing she enjoys the most about her work is being able to put that knowledge to practical use.

“I like being able to implement what I learned in the classroom in my work," she said. "When I conduct internal audits, I not only make sure things are being done correctly, but I am able to take things away or add to the procedure where I see fit. This would not be possible if I didn't spend countless hours studying risk assessments and go through many in-class exercises.”

Macias has found that the college’s curriculum has especially prepared her, since she does “a little bit of everything” in her internship.

“As an SRA major, I learn all aspects of security and risk management — both the physical and cyber side of things,” Macias explained. “This enables me to implement ideas [in my internship] from several different [IST] classes.”

However, Macias said that she has been challenged to examine real-life situations, where she doesn’t always find out the correct solution at the end, like she does in class.

“The transition from the classroom to the workplace was not as easy as I originally thought,” she said. “As a student, you go through many examples and then are given the right answer, but sometimes as an intern I'm put in situations that I am not familiar with and have no professor to turn to for help in reaching the correct answer.”

With that being said, Macias has learned it’s beneficial to ask questions in a professional setting.

“Your co-workers and mentors are there to help you and you should take advantage of it,” she said. “They have a lot of experience and are more than happy to share it with you.”

Macias says that she knows she is prepared for anything due to her broad IST knowledge.

“My best advice to those trying to find their first internship is to not limit themselves to one specific type of job,” she concluded. “The skills and knowledge you gain in your major can be used for many different career paths, so don't be afraid to go for something that's out of the ordinary.”

Last Updated August 01, 2019