Tech Square Intern Academy: Summer Odyssey

This summer, 33 bold student interns chose to go where few interns have gone before: straight into the heart of Atlanta’s tech scene. These intrepid interns accepted a mission to undertake Tech Square’s Intern Academy, a seven-week program that gamified professional and social development to catapult students outside their comfort zones to more brightly shine their lights on and off the clock.

Intern Academy focused on inspiring interns to build connections with other interns, top notch mentors, and the greater Atlanta community—all while becoming a better person.

To fulfill this mission, mentors came from every corner of Tech Square, representing ATDC startup companies like Monsieur, ReScour and Pointivo, as well as venture capital groups and local universities. Several students said working with mentors was one of the best parts of the summer.

The most fun thing was getting to meet different mentors and learn from people who are already in the space that you’re looking to get into, without any cold calling or awkward moments,” shared one intern.

Another cited the best part of the program as “being able to go outside the box, meet new people, and make better connections.”

In addition to mentor meetings, participants in the Intern Academy gathered every Tuesday for something new and different, like an ATL Scavenger Hunt or Ice Cream + Game Night. Students won points by participating in scheduled activities and wildcard quests, adventures like taking a bike ride to a new part of town or meeting a mentor for coffee.  

One week, mentor Roger Lopez led a session on building an outstanding LinkedIn profile, and interns could earn 20 points by enacting his suggestions and shooting him a thank you letter. At another week’s mentor mash-up, Kurt Ronn, Luiz Rangel, and Heather Rule gave Flash Talks on startup engineering, design thinking, and improv theatre.

The motto of the summer can be summed up in the words of Jen Bonnett, General Manager of ATDC and another outstanding Intern Academy mentor: “Take risks. Do things differently. Don’t ever be afraid to ask why.”