Name: José Alarcon Jr.
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Position Title: Student Trainee
Major(s)/Minor(s): Information Systems
Current Class Level: Senior
Work Term: Summer 2020 - Spring 2021
Tell us about your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day responsibilities.
CMS is a federal agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that works in partnership with states to provide health coverage for more than 70 million beneficiaries through programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Throughout the course of the pandemic, I have been providing support to the Data & Systems Group in the AWS team in maintaining and operating with on-demand cloud computing to allow high-powered analytic capabilities for structured and unstructured data sets. I also assisted in the proper governance for multimillion-dollar AWS purchases to ensure costs and resources are managed within budget while meeting the needs of the database infrastructure teams.
Describe the process of obtaining your position. When did you hear of the position and submit your application?
I heard about the position at the Career Fair provided by the UMBC Career Center in January of 2020 and submitted my application the same month.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization?
I have really enjoyed learning about cloud computing, since it reflects how powerful resources can be used remotely and the impact it has behind-the-scenes.
How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?
Some of my contributions in the Data & Systems Group include enhancing and advancing the capabilities in DevSecOps (Development, Security & Operations) that are crucial as the team develops and implements software and data products to support Medicaid and CHIP, which is very important for more than 70 million beneficiaries, especially in the middle of a pandemic.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
My advice would be that in order to qualify for an internship, you don't need to be the smartest student in your class. You don't need to know everything. I have learned that most employers look for personality, work ethic, and the eagerness to learn. And lastly, to go outside often and ground yourself.
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