I was really driven by helping these startup companies get their feet off the ground. I learned what I love doing and it was a very enjoyable experience.

-Patricia, 2016

Patricia Puno is the definition of problem-solver. As a user experience designer, she loves tackling difficult problems and finding solutions. While is college, Patrica changed majors twice and was unsure of her career path until she transferred to Washtenaw Community College (WCC) and started taking courses in programming. “When I delved into it I fell in love. Their curriculum is the whole shebang. During my senior year of my associates, my instructors told me about the CDE Summer Internship Clinic.”


Patricia was surprised by how accessible the CDE Summer Internship Clinic experience is to all types of students. In her clinic, she met students from many different backgrounds and was excited to have the experience open to her and other local community college students. “I like how Bud opened the doors to not just EMU students, but to people like me from WCC and all around. The accessibility was really important because as a tech student it is very difficult to get an internship in tech. That really helped with the barriers.” 


During her time, she was an intern for three separate companies. One company was a neuroscience startup, another company was a marketing platform, and she was also hired to make the digital marketing workshop website.  “I was really driven by helping these startup companies get their feet off the ground. You wear so many hats so you get a lot of experience. It’s a fast track to learning the industry standards. I learned what I love doing and it was a very enjoyable experience.” 


She found the working world to be a real wake up call and elaborated that “reality hit me hard when I started the internships. Selling yourself as a professional is really important because in the workforce it can help you tell a story and garner the help that you need. There is a struggle to convince the company that you are a valuable resource and future interns need to focus on how they can bring value to this company.”


Patricia has been working with Aptiv on a collaboration with autonomous vehicles. The CDE Summer Internship Clinic played a big role in her career growth and she credits it with her new job, saying that “getting hired for my career here is the main thing the CDE helped me with but it also helped me gain the soft skills to fight for the things that I find important in both business and my own growth.“  She works directly architecting the experience of those autonomous vehicles. She gathers data, sifts it, and provides the fleet owners with the ability to problem-solve and increase efficiency. She also works on the actual management platform. 


She would like to leave a word of advice to future interns, and told me that if there is one thing to focus on during the internship it is “the emphasis on networking and that fact that you need to start presenting yourself as a professional and really working on your soft skills.”