What began as a routine internship, has turned into a pipeline for a handful of College of Staten Island students. Abdelrahman Elsayed, who interned for Lowe’s in the summer of 2021 is now working full-time for the home improvement giant based in Charlotte, NC, and a cluster of four other soon-to-be grads will be joining him as interns, making the trip together and living the suite life while there.
Elsayed, who interned remotely as a Software Engineering Intern for Lowe’s was guided to the company through a recruiter, and made a heavy impression while there. He parlayed the internship into a full-time position as an Associate Software Engineer, starting in October of 2021 and has been loving it since.
“This whole experience hasn’t just been exciting but is has been life-changing for me,” said Elsayed. “I get to kick start a new chapter in my career and life in a new city, with my friends, and doing what I like. I am so thankful for having a full-time opportunity waiting for me right after graduation, something I could not have done without the CUNY2X program and my advisor, Kristi Brescia.”
Elsayed is still working remotely for now while his team transitions to an in-person workspace. When that happens, new adventures will await him in North Carolina, made even more exciting by the fact that four of his classmates, Gary Feng, Cheng Wang, Gianna Galard, and Andrea Habib, will be boarding the plane with him and sharing in the experience. The quartet were all hired as paid interns for a ten-week program this summer. Lowe’s has provided the internship group with its own dedicated mentor and a move-in ready suite for the group to share.
The entirety of the group will be working at Lowe’s brand-new global technology center immediately south of uptown Charlotte. According to the company the “357,000-square-foot technology center will be a new 23-story tower that houses up to 2,000 technology associates.”
“It will be a very exciting journey for me to intern out of state,” said Feng. “It will be a great learning experience for me and an opportunity to work in a professional setting. I am excited to meet new people and try all the amazing foods North Carolina offers. Living with my fellow classmates will be an interesting experience. I hope we will have the best time of our lives down at Charlotte.”
Getting to stay and experience this with friends is exciting, but so is the work that the group will be doing. Feng is ready for the challenge of being a Software Engineer with the iOS team at Lowe’s and knows his classmates are too.
“It will be a challenge learning the Swift programming language,” he said. “It’s been a while for me since I last programmed with Swift, but I am relearning and practicing leading up to the internship to prepare myself.”
Feng notes that the coursework the group has taken at CSI, as well as their involvement in CodePath, has helped prepare them for the position, enough so that they hope for an opportunity to potentially stay on with the company if possible.
“CSI has really prepared us to work in teams,” he noted. “I feel very prepared working in a group and communicating effectively. I also did CodePath early on when I didn’t know much about programming. The workshops were so important because it gave me the opportunity to do hands-on programming while networking and connecting with those who are in the industry.”
Being able to take on this endeavor together means the world to the collection of CSI students, including Elsayed, who will be living apart from the internists and on his own once in North Carolina. Having to navigate a new environment and a new job is always difficult, but he takes comfort knowing his friends are just an arm’s length away.
“This will be my second time relocating to a whole new city,” said Elsayed. “The first time was five years ago, when I relocated to New York from Egypt right after high school. It definitely makes it better to have friends alongside this journey, to explore the city, make new friends and kick start our Lowe’s journey together.”
The same is true for the CSI foursome sharing a suite. They admit that if they had to do the venture alone or with strangers, they would, but having built-in friends to help them explore the city and their new surroundings makes a world of difference.
“It is very important to have a strong support system when being away from home,” Feng said. “It will be my first time away from home and I am quite happy that I’ll know others in Charlotte. If I did not know anyone, I would join a meet-up group and make some connections over there.”
All four internists know the incredible value that being a part of the Computer Science program at CSI has afforded them. A caring faculty, quality and dedicated advisors, and the ability to network and make connections to professional organizations like Lowe’s are treasures to the discipline not lost on the students.
“I came to CSI with no knowledge of computer science and programming language,” said Feng. “Faculty like Professor Ping Shi were fantastic and really made the courses very hands-on. She was able to break down complex concepts into simple terms for someone who does not have any experience in computer science.”
The group of CSI students making their way to Lowe’s this summer know that the time is special and that the opportunity afforded to them is very unique and not typical to your average internship. They plan to utilize the unique networking and professional opportunities that will be afforded to them in their future endeavors. “I’m looking forward to gaining more insight of this industry and learning from professionals,” said Feng. “I am interested in mobile development and hopefully one day I would be able to create an application that will help non-English speakers to efficiently communicate better with English speakers.”
At the end of the ten-week internship, all four internists will seek their next endeavor, perhaps staying with the organization, like Elsayed, or using the experience to catapult to the next opportunity and challenge ahead. No matter what, they all hope to be better from the experience.
“Regardless of what happens after the internships, I think this experience will benefit all of us a great deal,” said Elsayed. “We will grow our bond, our careers, and our mentality. We will all have a clearer vision of what we want our future to look like.”
“This internship will be a fantastic experience as it will dip my toes into the tech industry,” said Feng. “It should provide me with more knowledge into the industry and I am thankful to Lowe’s for the opportunity.”