Internship Lineup: Keagan Eng

Tell me about your internship! What are your responsibilities? What projects are you working on over the summer?

I’m on a team called “Programmatic by Roundel.” Roundel is Target’s ad agency. This summer, I’m working on a tool that will be used internally for our business partners to manage our ads, the publishers, and then the sites that the ads go up on. My team as a whole manages both the audience data and the people we show the ads to, as well as the publishers and the places where we put those ads. My tool will be used as an easier way to see all of that information. It’s being built from the ground up; it’s pretty new to the team.

What is the most important thing you have learned thus far?

I’d say patience. There were a lot of times throughout my internship when I didn’t know the answers. I think it helped to work through challenges slowly or take it in small pieces and then ask for some help when necessary. It’s nice and humbling to know that I don’t need to have all the answers right away.

How did your research and school work prepare you for this role?

I’m working on a research project at the University of Minnesota called “Doenet,” it stands for Distributed Open Education Network. It’s through the mathematics department, and it’s an educational tool where professors can build content. It’s similar to Canvas, but they can tailor the content to see how their students learn best and gather data about which learning methods are effective. I learned a lot of React through that experience, and I think that really helped to have that skill going into this internship. In terms of projects for school, I think working in a team and learning how to ask the right questions helped me prepare for working on an Agile scrum team at Target.

How did you become interested in computer science and your specific areas of interest?

I first started at the UMN as a chemistry major and then one of my scholarships didn’t allow me to pursue chemistry going forward. So, I had to change my major because of that. I knew I loved math, so I decided to try computer science and realized it was a really good fit, especially in the way that problems are solved in computer science. I think it works well with my skill set and my personality. I really like front-end, like web design and working with visual types of things. I’m also getting more interested in back-end work and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). I’m learning a lot about that through my internship.

What are your future career goals? How has this position impacted your goals?

Upon graduating, I hope that I’ll go into some sort of software engineering role. I don’t know exactly which company yet, but hopefully one that has a positive impact on the environment and the people that it serves. Maybe in the future, I’ll pursue an MBA, but I’m not totally sure about that yet. I want to make sure that whatever company I go for is one that I’m passionate about and one that has a good work-life balance as well.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing a similar internship in the future?

I think the most important thing is to go into any internship with an open mind. When I first was placed on my team, I didn’t even know what Roundel was. It’s something I had never heard of, and I was a little bit apprehensive about the whole thing. But coming in with the willingness to learn, I got a lot more out of it rather than if I’d come in just hoping to do one certain thing and only use the skills that I already know. I’ve learned a lot because of this mindset.

Is there anything else that you would like to highlight?

Within the UMN, I’m involved in leadership positions in the Society of Women Engineers and also the Science and Engineering Student Board. Both of those have taught me a lot of really good people skills and management skills. My advice for anyone would be to pursue things like that, even in a technical major. Those are skills that really will bring you farther in any career.