Georgia was an intern in our inaugural Oasys Summer Internship and is a sophomore at Clemson University.
By Georgia Stamper
Structured agility. Company culture. Government contracting. If anyone had asked me what these phrases meant prior to starting my Summer Internship at Oasys, I would have struggled to give a sufficient answer. Beginning with our first day and continuing consistently throughout this internship program, Oasys employees unwaveringly embodied the company’s core values of integrity, excellence and teamwork. This 9-week program opened my eyes to much more than scrum meetings and technical solutions; it was a first-hand look into how a highly successful SDVOSB functions day to day, and what principles it employs to continue to foster success.
I’ll be frank: my nerves were at an all-time high the first day. As a rising college sophomore with zero technical experience walking into an IT consulting company located downtown in our nation’s capital, I was convinced I was in over my head. But the smiles and enthusiasm I was greeted with soon calmed my first-day jitters. My fellow interns and I were quickly immersed into the rest of the company; presented with a list filled with a multitude of tasks for us to work on, I soon concluded this was definitely not a coffee and fax machine job. Not only were we allowed to work on tasks directly related to the activities of the company, but we were encouraged to do so! I personally sought out tasks involving a social media analysis and recruitment refinement through which I was able to conduct extensive research and produce my own materials to present to my supervisors. This brought about the opportunity to speak with multiple employees with varied responsibilities such as Project Managers, Recruitment Leads, Engineers and Directors alike. Through my interviews, I gained insight to the company from many different perspectives, and the resounding consensus of Oasys was one of hard work, efficiency, and enjoyment.
When we first started, I felt as though we were hastily sent into the “real world” after just a single day of orientation. Be it my lack of previous interning experience or mistaken expectations, at first this surprised and overwhelmed me. I did, however, appreciate the lack of handholding I so often experienced in high school, and this proved to be a good motivator for me to take my own initiative and jump right in with two feet. I found myself initially apprehensive to ask many questions, though, as I didn’t want to bother the professionals hard at work. We learned early on that since Oasys is such a small company with many responsibilities, most of its employees are working on multiple projects at once, often leaving them at a scarcity for free time. I took this as a reason not to ask for clarification, and instead ran down the rabbit hole of Google searching everything. And I mean … everything. In the beginning I could have more efficiently answered my questions had I simply reached out, which is my greatest regret reflecting on my time here. I eventually set my fears aside and found that everyone was more than happy to take time to answer my questions, whether it was over the phone or during a few minutes at their desk.
Taking the step to reach out to employees not only answered my questions for my task at hand, but also helped me to get to know people more personally. This gave me a first-hand view into Oasys’ greatest emphasis: culture. More than anything, Oasys values how their employees add to the culture within their company and will hire for fit over skillset. They believe in fostering a hard-working and charismatic team through consistent collaboration, which is a characteristic I admire and now desire in an employer.
One of my favorite aspects of the internship was the company’s investment in the interns as a group. I never felt like we were put in a corner or cast aside, because everyone was always available to us; we just had to stand up and ask. We were consistently involved, as we accepted many invitations to sit in on scrum calls, proposal rehearsals, phone screens and more. Additionally, we were asked to do a “Brown Bag” presentation, which was given during the lunch hour to everyone in the office. The topic of our presentation was of our own free will to choose, and the encouragement we received for us as the interns to teach others gave us a sense of support and trust. We were suggested to choose a topic that was exciting to us, as we were told it would immediately make us more invested in the presentation and be more engaging to the audience. This advice certainly rang true during the Brown Bags and has become a major learning point that I will carry with me as I grow my professional career.
I am proud to have been a member of the Inaugural Class of Oasys’ Summer Interns! Being a part of this innovative and personable company has been a wonderful opportunity for me to meet new people, dip my toes into the working world, and vastly broaden my knowledge on this particular industry. Internships are typically viewed as strictly an opportunity for the college students to learn from the company, but Oasys took it a step further to say that the company can learn from us, as well. This mindset empowered me to develop from a timid young intern to a more confident contributor to the company, even in our 9 short weeks here. I encourage future interns to ask more questions than I did, and ask them of many different people rather than just the one person with whom you have already established rapport. Outside of viewing them as networking opportunities, each of these employees are intelligent, unique and engaging individuals and will invest in your success. Additionally, I highly suggest accepting any and all invitations to sit in on meetings, even if the concepts are completely foreign. Every opportunity is one for growth and learning, and I am so thankful to have experienced that first hand with Oasys this summer.
See pictures of our first interns here: https://www.instagram.com/oasysinternationalcorp/