One of my professors once referred to internships as “a prototyping experience” – a way to try on a role, to see what you like, what you don’t and what you want to explore.
I’ve spent the past three months as an HR/recruiting intern for Lunarline, and I’ve definitely had a prototyping experience. One of my primary responsibilities this summer was to improve the Cyberstart Internship Program. When researching and working on developing Cyberstart, I made sure to continually remind myself of this backstop: What will an intern be able to do at the end of the internship that they couldn’t do before? So, before I leave, I thought I’d answer this question for myself.
I have learned a lot during my first two years at Vanderbilt University. As a double major in psychology and human and organizational development, I’ve taken classes on understanding organizations, small group behavior and talent management and organizational fit. But there are a lot of skills and technical knowledge that can only be learned from hands-onexperience. So, I’m grateful that I was able to develop my technical skills this summer at Lunarline. Whether I was posting job listings to CATS or ZipRecruiter, processing request for employment forms for government clearance applications, discovering the legal nuances of I9s, or becoming an expert at Sharepoint, I’ve gained a lot of skills I can use when I enter the job force in two years.
On my first day at Lunarline, I viewed this as human resources and recruiting internship that just happened to be in the same office as people who did cybersecurity work. Before I started, a SOC was something that goes on my feet, and a CAP kept the sun off my face at the beach. Now, I know that the relationship between my role and cybersecurity is much more nuanced.
As a psych major thrown into the outskirts of a STEM field, I’ve found that it’s OK to be great with people and mediocre when it comes to technology. I got used to coverings over computer cameras, and learned the meaning of acronyms that once sounded foreign. Now, when I look at a candidate’s resume, I find it odd if cyber-certifications and government clearance aren’t clearly marked. I’ve learned that there are people with Bachelors of Science in Psychology who are very high up in the cyber world. And that that’s not uncommon.
I’m also more aware of the talent gap in cybersecurity, and the importance of good recruiters at cybersecurity firms. And I understand how imperative it is that recruiters look at applicants who are underutilized in the cybersecurity hiring pool – women, veterans and other minorities. It’s up to these recruiters to create empowering atmospheres to develop these new hiresand help them thrive in their positions.
“Real World” Knowledge
Perhaps the harshest reality of my summer internship was commuting through the D.C. metro area. I can’t tell you how many times I made it through the entire “Mean Girls The Musical” cast recording in its entirety before even making it into the Lunarline parking lot each morning. I also learned about business lunches. And salaries. And the joys of bringing the previous night’s leftovers for lunch the next day. I learned about health insurance, life insurance and other “fun” benefits.
My internship allowed me to experience an adult life outside of my Vanderbilt bubble, and surrounded me with mentors and role models who aren’t my parents, relatives or professors. (Thanks, Franco and Danielle!) I’ve interacted with an incredible number of managers and executives. I even met Lunarline’s CEO Waylon Krush a few times, which is something most college interns at other companies don’t get to do.
Everyone I’ve interacted with at Lunarline has gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable, and to learn more about me. I couldn’t have picked a better set of role models to spend my summer with. So, thank you Lunarline for making this internship so meaningful, and for allowing me to be part of the team.
Rachel Nevett is a student at Vanderbilt University. She is currently studying to obtain her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and Human and Organizational Development. As an HR/recruiting intern for Lunarline, Rachel was involved in multiple HR functions, including onboarding, out-processing, interviews and recruitment. She also played an instrumental role in improving the Lunarline CyberStart Internship Program by gathering feedback from her fellow interns on how to enhance the initiative.