WeTech Juniper Scholar Kelcy Newton interned at Juniper Networks during summer 2016. Here, she shares her reflections on this experience.
My name is Kelcy, and I’m a senior at Georgia Tech majoring in Computer Science. I
spent the summer of 2016 at Juniper’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California working as a Systems
Engineer on the Partner’s Automation team. I, along with another intern, developed an Event
Driven Infrastructure (EDI) to help manage and automate hundreds of thousands of devices
simultaneously with little to no human interaction. I learned about a new technology called
Until three months ago, I had never been further west than Texas, and all of my ideas
about what Silicon Valley was like came from television shows, the internet, or gossip I heard around
Georgia Tech. As I prepared to make the cross country move for the summer, I knew I would be
challenged at this internship and I knew I would have to adjust to living in a completely new part
of the US. What I didn’t know was that living in the Bay area and working at Juniper would
completely change how I see my career as a woman in Computer Science.
I knew little about
Juniper when I began in early May, but I knew I was interested in networking and it’s future in
this world that is so driven by software.
My 12 weeks at Juniper Networks were jam packed with intern events, continuous
coding, lunches with Juniper employees, and more opportunities than I ever could have hoped
for. In three short months, I discovered a passion for the networking industry and for the people
who work so hard to build the networks that allow our modern day technology to work. Since I
began programming, one of my core goals has always been to be able to maintain my individual
creativity within any job I do. This summer, I was given the responsibility of designing the UI for
a management platform for a new project within the automation team. I got to make the ultimate
call on the shape of the buttons, the color scheme, and other interactions. When this product is
complete and goes to market, I will know that my own creativity helped to get it there. At Juniper,
I was given responsibilities and work that allowed me to make a significant impact.
"I was surprised how much of an impact the people at Juniper Networks would have on me."
was confident in my abilities, and instead of holding my hand as I worked on my project, he
gave me broad goals and ideas and let me figure out how I wanted to accomplish them. This
freedom has shown me that I am in control of my own career and what I want it to look like.
Sometimes that means putting myself out there and risking being wrong, and other times it
means sitting back and listening to my teammates opinions and ideas in order to create a
solution. Of course my summer was packed with building my own technical skills, but I was
surprised how much of an impact the people at Juniper Networks would have on me.
By connecting with other
interns, new college graduates and upper level employees, I was able to leverage their
experiences and advice and build more than just a network; I built lasting relationships.
There’s a common saying: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the
wrong room”. This has been one of my guiding mantras since I began college because I firmly
believe in learning from those around you. Juniper is full of kind, passionate, and crazy
intelligent people. From my own team meetings to one-on-one chats with managers from
various departments, I was able to meet so many different people and learn from them what it
means to be a Juniper employee and how what they do helps Juniper flourish.
"The concept of continuous and active learning was abundant at Juniper."
concept of continuous and active learning was abundant at Juniper. Rami, Juniper’s CEO,
emphasized this at every talk he gave to the interns or the company, and I definitely feel this is
one of the key takeaways Juniper gave me. The world of technology is changing and evolving
everyday, and it’s so important that those of us at the center of it are proactive about learning
new concepts and not becoming complacent.
If I could give one piece of advice to young women pursuing engineering, computer
science, or other tech related careers, it would be to be bold, be brave, be yourself, and do
things that scare you. For the longest time, I thought that I didn’t have the technical skills to
work in the valley. Those skills were there all along, but it took me realizing my own talents and
confidence to be able to unlock them.
There are a number of incredible and unique perspectives
and attitudes that women bring to the tech field, so we should use those qualities to create new
technologies to help other women and people worldwide. Don’t be afraid to look silly or to be
wrong, because the act of trying and what you learn in the process is so crucial to helping you
grow. Take pride in what you know you do well, in your multitude of experiences, and in what
makes you, well you! Do those things, and I have no doubt that you can succeed in whatever
you choose to pursue. Juniper helped me unlock my own inner confidence and I’m sure it can
do the same for any woman who walks through their doors.
WeTech's STEM Scholarships for Women are made possible by partners like Juniper Networks. Learn more about our partners and how you can partner to open doors for women entering STEM careers.