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Each year, hundreds of students join Seagate for their internship to gain real-world experience, learn about the industry and get a glimpse of what a career is like at Seagate.
Seagate has the best talent in the industry, working together to deliver amazing storage products. But even with all of our considerable resources, we still need fresh ideas and new ways of looking at problems.
Our student internship program ensures that we never stop innovating and moving forward as a company.
This program offers a ton of benefits—for the students, their managers and teams, and for our company as a whole. Here’s what some of our managers and our recent student interns had to say about the program and their experiences.
“New Tools and Ideas”
“In the tech world, things are always changing fast and college interns bring new tools and ideas to Seagate,” said Cary Johnson, a principal engineer, failure analysis, in Shakopee. “They don’t always prescribe to the ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ approach.”
Cary worked with David Pitchford, an intern on assignment at Seagate in the summer of 2011. David worked on a series of software-development projects that were key parts of our strategic drive data-analysis process. “David did a great job,” Cary said, “and his primary project, which was designed to process large volumes of field-return data, is still a critical tool that’s heavily used today.”
David is now a fulltime employee, working for Cary as an enterprise development engineer.
“Interns can bring a different mindset from those of us who’ve been at Seagate or in this industry for a long time,” added Glenn Benson, senior engineering director, mechanical design, also in Shakopee.
Glenn and his team worked with student Logan Magnan this past summer. Logan helped Glenn’s department set up new mechanical test equipment—work that included writing test scripts and conducting correlation studies between the older equipment and the new tester.
“Logan’s work allowed his engineering supervisor to focus on product-development issues while the new tester was being prepared,” said Glenn. “During the three months Logan was with us, his work resulted in saving about 12 months of direct time by his supervising engineer.”
Glenn makes it a practice to involve any intern on his team in meetings and work discussions that will give the students a better understanding of the business needs that “motivate our assignments and work items,” he explained. “The formal intern program meetings also give them the opportunity to see what other group functions do, and how they fit into the overall business.”
Inside Track on Hiring
Another benefit of the internship program: Seagate often has an inside track when it comes to hiring a student intern after graduation.
“Having seen first-hand an intern’s capabilities, it gives us the confidence in making an offer when the intern graduates,” said Abhay Kataria, a managing principal engineer, R&D firmware, in Longmont.
One such intern is Ryan Caskey, who’s wrapping up an internship in Longmont and will begin a full-time job with Seagate in May, after graduation. During his internship, Ryan designed, implemented and debugged a script to create memory preload files for use in system-on-a-chip (SoC) simulations. This script reduces the time spent debugging and running simulations, said his manager, Ed Hoskins.
“Nothing Like Class”
“My internship experience here was extremely beneficial,” said Ryan. “It gave me my first real-world experience working in the industry. Working for a company like Seagate is nothing at all like being in class. This internship prepared me for a job better than any class could.”
Kodi Hildebrandt, a former intern who will be joining the Longmont team fulltime in January, agreed.
“There’s only so much you can gather in the classroom or a three-hour lab,” said Kodi, who designed experiments testing thermal-mitigation strategies for SoC devices. “It’s one thing to learn the theory in class, but another to try and understand it when applied. My internship gave me more perspective from the usual academic reports, and it helped show me areas that I need to improve upon.”
Allison Hanley, an applications engineer in Shakopee, joined the company over two years ago, following a stint with another company after graduation. Before that, she had been an intern at Seagate and enjoyed the experience. Coming back to Seagate was an easy decision for her, she said.
“The technology that Seagate develops is on the forefront of the industry—whether it’s finding new storage solutions in the hard drive realm, or exploring new possibilities in solid-state technology,” Allison said. “Having exposure to all of this is extremely exciting as a young employee. I’ve gotten to work on multiple programs and across many job functions. Every day, I wind up leaving with new knowledge I didn’t have before, and that’s unbelievably rewarding.”
A graduate student from the University of California at Santa Cruz is helping Seagate bring more intelligence to hard drives.
Last year, at a conference at UCSC’s Storage Systems Research Center, Reka Pitchumani, a computer science Ph.D. candidate, presented her work in developing an object-based management system for shingled-magnetic disks. Seagate representatives were in the audience and were so impressed they offered Pitchumani a job.
Today, Pitchumani works at Seagate as a summer intern while she completes her Ph.D. thesis.
Shingled-magnetic recording (SMR) technology enables hard drives to store more information by squeezing data tracks closer together. Tracks overlap one another, like a roof’s shingles, permitting more data to be written to the same space. Updating large data centers with shingled disks, however, requires a software upgrade for each server—a process that can be time-consuming.
Pitchumani’s idea was to streamline that process by having the disks manage themselves.
“It means the customer doesn’t have to change software every time the disk drive technology changes,” she explains. “By placing the data-management software directly on the disk, customers don’t have to manually install new software every time they add storage to their servers.”
Mark Re, SVP and Chief Technology Officer at Seagate, said Pitchumani’s expertise aligns well with the company’s efforts to “architect more intelligence into the drive.”
“That’s been a very challenging area for our industry,” Re says. “Rekha shows the value of our internship program. Bright students like her can really help Seagate look at new ways to solve some tough problems for our customers.”
Pitchumani, 29, first worked as a Seagate intern last summer, in which she developed software for shingled disks. She’s back at Seagate fulltime this summer for another internship. She’ll work on a part-time basis for Seagate in the fall and expects to complete her Ph.D. within the next year.
Pitchumani’s work not only applies to Seagate’s HDD business, but it’s also applicable to the company’s solid-state drive products, says her manager, Jim Hughes, a principal technologist at Seagate.
“Flash devices face similar data-management issues as SMR disks,” Hughes said. “Rekha’s research is quite remarkable. It’s definitely not every day that you see a graduate student whose work is making an immediate impact on cloud-storage products right off the bat like this.”
Pitchumani, who’s also juggling work and studies as the mother of a five-year-old boy, says she enjoys working in an environment where she has the freedom to pursue her research and get guidance from experienced engineers and technologists.
“At Seagate, it’s not just about coming up with new ideas but making sure the research has a real benefit for customers,” she says. “I have the freedom to explore my ideas, but at the same time I have colleagues with years of proven experience to help guide my work and make sure I’m on the right path.” —By Steve Pipe