Meet Anna and Karina: The Intern/Mentor Duo of Your Dreams
Anna Wei (University of Waterloo, April 2024) is a fall 2021/winter 2022 intern on the hardware team and works with her mentor, Karina Gunadi!
Tell us about your team and role!
Anna: Hello! I’m on the hardware team as a Product Design Mechanical Engineering Intern.
Karina: Hey there! I am a Product Design Mechanical Engineer on the hardware team specifically working on sensors and intrusion products.
First impression of each other? Did that change throughout the internship?
Anna: First impression: Karina has cool pants and cool earrings. No, that has not changed.
Karina: My first impression was that Anna was very young and I felt old. Now, she seems less young… but I still feel old.
Can you tell us how are interns assigned projects?
Karina: It’s a combination of looking at upcoming projects and asking the intern what they’re interested in. That way we find the perfect project that is both valuable as a learning experience and has a great impact on the company. The good news is that we can do this because there are always so many exciting things on the horizon. We (the hardware team) really try to pick projects that will become products that ship. There’s nothing cooler than knowing that what you worked on is out there in the world actually being used.
So then, Anna, what project did you work on during your internship?
Anna: I’m currently leading the mechanicals for a new alarms product. Since our hardware team here at Verkada is pretty small, I’ve been incredibly grateful to be able to take on lots of ownership on real, customer-facing products. It’s been a lot of responsibility — everything from collaborating with our ID team and creating prototypes, to driving discussions with suppliers — and it’s been a huge opportunity for growth for me!
What surprised you most when working with each other?
Anna: I was surprised by how much Karina trusted my ability to take on large projects even as an intern. I think many companies pride themselves in “treating interns like full-time employees,” but my experience at Verkada has taken it to a whole other level.
Karina: I’ve been surprised by how deeply reflective the whole process has been for me. I try to save Anna from making the same mistakes I did. I’ve had to think back a lot to what I knew when I was in college, what I was confused by, what kind of support I needed, etc. It’s also helped me realize how far I’ve come since then, and over these past six months it’s been really rewarding to see how far Anna has come as well.
What did you learn from this internship that helped you grow as an engineer?
Anna: Verkada’s product development cycle is quite fast-paced, so as a result, I’ve been able to oversee the entire PD cycle of the product I’ve been working on. Doing so has given me so much more context in how products go from concept sketches to the manufacturing plant and how everything is implemented into the supply chain. At my previous internships, I was only able to see small snippets of a product under development so it’s nice to finally piece things together and see the bigger picture.
Karina, what did you learn from mentoring that helped you grow?
Karina: To me, engineering isn’t only about your technical abilities and work output. It’s also how you work with others, share your knowledge, and grow your team. Through mentoring I’ve been able to practice new skills in management, communication, and more which has really helped me to grow as an engineer.
Favorite Verkada event with your team?
Anna: Glassblowing! I made a cool cup which I now use to store my office supplies, and Karina made a cute bowl!
Karina: During the first week of her internship we went to Top Golf with the whole hardware team which was super fun. Anna would swing the golf club like a hockey stick and slap shot the balls into the targets — staying true to her Canadian roots. There was also a mini golf club roughly two feet long that had been brought out for our coworker’s six year old daughter that Anna and I had a grand ol’ time using. I was actually better with that than regular golf clubs.
Visit our careers page to learn more about internships and other opportunities at Verkada!