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By author: Martin Indiatsi

W.I.T. 2009

If you ask somebody at OIT what WIT is, they’d probably tell you “it’s a summer technology internship for Williams students.” If you ask me, I’d tell you “it’s a bunch of multi-talented, diverse, and ambitious students who are rounded up at the end of the school year, locked up on the second floor of Jesup with no air-conditioning, and at the end of 10 weeks, they emerge with beautiful T-shirts and a dozen websites for faculty to play with.” I’d also tell you that for ten weeks I was part of a Family, a Playground and a School. That is what WIT really is to me- a Family, a Playground and a School.

On the first day, I reported to work at 9:00 in the morning where I met the other student interns. Some of the faces were new and some were quite familiar. However, there was a hint of strangeness that could not be ignored. I remember saying to myself, “This is whom I am going to be working with for the whole summer?” And if that wasn’t troubling enough, the air-conditioning did not work. I was always doubtful as to what sort of dynamics would be realized in the course of the program. I was doubtful as to how teams are going to relate, work and be productive. I was doubtful as to how prepared or cut out I was, for the projects that would be presented to us.

But then, before we got into the thick of things with web design and coding, we went through a two-week training period that cast away a lot of doubt. First, there was digital storytelling, and what an experience that was! In making digital stories, I was learning about new technology while exploring very personal aspects of my life at the same time. I had the rare opportunity to tell a personal story however I wanted to tell it, and at the same time, learn more about my fellow interns by sharing their stories. The Family was well on its way at this point in time.

Being a WIT intern this past summer was more of an eye-opening experience than a regular nine to five job. There was always something to look forward to learning every single day. I am now equipped with the necessary skills to work with HTML, CSS, PHP and can design a fully functional website from the ground up. However, it did take a while for me to get comfortable with the basics that would enable me to take up the projects. The training project surely played a big role in steering me in the right direction. Our student managers, Bret Scofield and Jeff Perlis, presented us with a project, which we were to work on individually or within groups. The amazing thing about the training project is that it created an avenue for us to learn about each other’s unique skills that would be applicable in the work setting. When I needed help I first consulted a fellow WIT Student then maybe an ITech (instructional technology) staff member. WIT, the school, taught me self-reliance, but most importantly, taught me to learn to rely on my colleagues.

They say work without play makes Jack a dull boy. We had game night to remedy that. Tuesday nights, the family got together and played strange board games, Wii sports, Rock Band, and Texas hold ’em, or occasionally jammed to the tune of Trevor Murphy’s (an ITech staff member) mandolin. Friday lunches were exceptional as well. Every week there was tasty food from a variety of local restaurants that we enjoyed with our sponsors, and the whole family. We also had a blast canoeing and mini-golfing. The rest of the time, we had each other, our sponsors, the ITech staff, our projects, the internet and YouTube.

The projects were interesting and fun to work on. There were times when we burned the midnight oil in the name of getting something to work. But even then, we had the backing of our fellow students, the student managers, and the ITech staff. At the end of it, we emerged with our beautiful WIT 2009 T-shirts and presented our projects to our sponsors and the Williams community. All in all, it was a great experience. From this summer, I derive a great sense of pride and fulfillment in my fellow interns, the WIT program, and myself.

-written with Azd Al-Kadasi ’12

For more information about the WIT program, visit the WIT site.