ATLANTA — From virtual reality headsets to robots programmed to help with work efficiency, Georgia State University computer science major Sarah O’Brien has put her love of technology to use during her internship with Southern Company.
O’Brien was selected to work as a Southern Company Technology Innovations intern. As part of the ongoing internship, O’Brien has been thrust into important projects for the company, working with the innovation team on software engineering and robotics, including deployment of a chatbot for internal communications.
“I wasn’t expecting an internship to be this hands-on,” O’Brien said. “It’s really motivating to know the work I do has an impact. It’s cool to be treated as a full-time employee.”
O’Brien, an Honors College student, will be working as a Southern Company intern until she graduates in December with a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a focus in data science.
During her internship, O’Brien has been assigned to the Technology Innovations team, which mainly works with prototypes and new technologies. Recently, the team used virtual reality headsets and created a 3D model of one of the company’s plants so employees could learn how to train in the environment without having to travel to the location.
The team also programmed a robot to take photos of power plants to help inspect them.
“We’re always trying to find ways to keep this company up to date with what’s going on in the current market,” O’Brien said. “We want to see how much technology we can use.”
O’Brien also used her web development skills to create web pages for the company.
In high school, O’Brien developed a love for computer science. She attended Milton High School north of Atlanta, where she joined the computer science program.
During her senior year of high school, she participated in a machine learning internship, which was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the setback, O’Brien said she wasn’t discouraged, and the brief internship propelled her to pursue a degree in computer science.
After graduation, she plans to land a job in software development, eventually becoming a team lead or vice president of technology.
O’Brien said her internship served as a great networking opportunity where she gained valuable work experience.
“I just have a different understanding of the corporate world now,” O’Brien said. “Overall, it’s been a great experience.”