Nikka Yalung '18
National Democratic Institute (NDI)
- Major: Computer Science
- Internship Organizations: The National Democratic Institute (NDI)
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikka-yalung/
What took you to DC? -- What attracted you to the Internship program?
I came to DC because I saw it as another opportunity to get out of Davis. As much as I love my class-filled schedule in the small town of Davis, I wanted to take advantage of any programs that sent me out of it. I went straight from a semester of study abroad in Sweden to an internship in the industry in DC. I love hands-on experiences and DC gave me just that.
Tell me about your internship – what kind of work did you do?
What was your biggest take-away from your internship?
Working at NDI was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The organization fostered learning new skills. As I am only in the beginning of my IT career, I know that there is so much for me to learn. I considered myself lucky enough to be surrounded by mentors who encouraged me constantly to learn and improve on new skills. They did this through practice! I studied for certifications while they took new tests. I learned a new programming language while they wrote new programs! My biggest take away from the internship is to never stop learning. Information Technology is a fascinating and expanding field.
A less technical lesson I discovered about myself and a future career in IT is that it is not about where you work. It’s about who you work with. NDI’s IT team made it really easy for me to settle in and I was able to jump right into the deep end comfortably. I never regretted coming in to work, because I enjoyed seeing my colleagues. I looked forward to discussing movies, songs, pop culture, and more importantly, new technologies with them every day. Their IT team had a bond that created a positive working environment. For that reason, they worked great together.
What would you tell students who are considering DC?
Do it! There’s no better time to do it than now. You don’t even have to worry about finding housing. It’s not just about the city. It’s a totally different community and atmosphere than California. If you’re a STEM major and you think that DC is just for political science majors, think again. I had an amazing time and being surrounded by politics made me a more well-rounded citizen.