Iris Headshot
Iris Huang

Graduation Year: 2021 
Major: Computer Science, Software Development
CO-OP: Performance Analyst Intern at NVIDIA

Computer science major Iris Huang recently finished her cooperative education (CO-OP) internship at NVIDIA, a major tech company that designs graphics processing units (GPUs). Though her CO-OP was remote, she talks about the ways NVIDIA accommodated the remote work environment and ensured that she connected with her coworkers and mentors. 

Q: What drew you toward doing a CO-OP with NVIDIA?
NVIDIA is one of the largest tech companies and I had heard multiple times from friends who are really into video games that they make really good graphics cards. When I saw their name listed as being a part of our School of Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair, I went up to their booth and met with my future manager. I applied for the position and got an interview. 

Q: How did you feel at the beginning of your CO-OP?
It was my first time working at a mature company and I was a little bit overwhelmed and didn't know what to expect. But then I went to the trainings and the events they hosted where I got to connect with my other team members, and it felt less stressful. 

Q: What did you do during your CO-OP?
I mainly worked on automation scripts with my mentor and few a other developers—it's a whole project. I focused on rewriting some existing benchmark scripts and then transforming them using our internal libraries which help preserve a lot of lines of code. An example would be like 200 lines of script condensed into like 100 lines or 50, which is crazy! I also helped out with maintaining and adding features to our new library which is also fun. 

Q: How did you feel at the end of your CO-OP?
It was a mixture of feelings. On one hand, I feel kinda sad to leave the team, but on the other hand, I feel excited that I finished a project and reached a really big milestone in my life. So, I think I'm more excited than sad. I'm happy to return to campus. 

Q: In what ways did the pandemic affect your CO-OP experience? 
I had started working remotely already so when the lockdowns happened I didn't have to pack up and move from the site. The situation didn't change during the CO-OP for me. On the first day of work they shared all the equipment with me, sent it to my house and I had to set it up. It came in a giant box and they made sure we had all our equipment ready. NVIDIA hosted a lot of fun virtual events which allowed us interns to bond with each other. They would host events where the intern and mentor would work together to solve puzzles and they provided us interns with a lot of resources. 

Q: In what ways did Pacific and the CO-OP department prepare you for your CO-OP?
They have done so much! At the Career Center, I got help with resume writing and the CO-OP Department would set up sections to have us prepare for the interviews. I remember going to the mock interviews that were set up and learning so much. That helped me see a different point of view. I always thought about how I should perform and never thought of what the interviewer wants from this. It was mind-blowing. I feel really fortunate that I had these opportunities that I can develop through my whole career.  

Q: What advice would you give a student considering Computer Science at Pacific?
The computer science program at Pacific is really inclusive and very well organized. We have smaller classroom sizes that allow students to connect with each other and connect with the professors. Pacific has a lot of project-based courses and group projects that prepare you for future work because you are most likely going to be a part of a team and not working solo. It allows you to discover your field of interest and prepare you to become a professional in the field. 

Q: Where do you see yourself going next? 
I see this opportunity as a chance for me to explore different fields of computer science. I kinda like it. I learned that working full time doesn't mean that it's always exciting every day. Some days you'll be doing the same thing repeatedly. I think in a few years I will be ready to work at NVIDIA again, hopefully.