Cynthia Vanessa Rios, a highly enthusiastic student, is currently pursuing a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering and a minor in Economics at North Carolina State University

To promote STEM education, she volunteers in her community for underrepresented groups with the help of organizations such as The Peruvian Coalition of NC, North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals, El Pueblo, Uniting NC, and more. In addition to this, she is also a Product Security Engineer Intern at Lenovo

Key Takeaways Of The Interview:


1. How did you prepare for the internship?

I had a background in web development which started in high school, so I didn’t do much preparation before the internship. Most of my learning was on the job.

2. Tell us about how you were recruited for the program.

I met my boss at a scholarship reception dinner. One of the sponsors was Lenovo, so I ended up sitting at their table which had 8 of their employees including my manager and his boss as well. We spent 4 hours talking, and after a follow-up, I was invited to visit their office in January to familiarize myself with their Product Security Office and Research Device Team. My manager was nice enough to introduce me to a bunch of team members who told me more about their roles at Lenovo. A few months later, HR contacted me to extend me an offer as a Product Security Office Engineer Intern.

3. Why do you think you were selected?

I was fortunate to have met a great group of people at the scholarship dinner. However, I think that I was selected because of the way I marketed my skill set and followed up with them later. I checked in and followed-up many times once I felt that an offer was on the table. Hopefully, my story can demonstrate the importance of networking and chasing opportunities.

4. Tell us more about your experience within the program.

I interned for the Product Security Office and they had 4 websites, all of which were broken! I enjoyed having different projects to work on, and each of my projects had me reporting to different team members, so it allowed me to connect with people in various roles. They also used different technical skills so I had to learn about SharePoint for one site, Django for another, and my last major project as HTML/CSS + Bootstrap with a heavy emphasis on Web Design which wasn’t my specialty.

The University Recruiting team did a great job of moving everything to a virtual environment. We had virtual coffee chats weekly, volunteering opportunities, a group project with interns on different teams, career development events, etc. I was paired with a mentor in a completely different team (Latin American Sales) and that was another great experience (shoutout to Laura!)

Additionally, one of the interns in the area (I live close-ish to Lenovo’s campus) setup board game nights with a small group of interns which was pretty much the only in-person social interaction I had during quarantine and I was appreciative of that.

5. Do you have any useful tips regarding the internship?

Virtual networking is weird, but it’s also very beneficial. I requested my fair share of virtual coffees and lunches with other interns and full-time employees and made an effort to get the most of my experience. It was something I had to adapt to, but I felt like I still had the opportunity to connect with others at Lenovo.

6. What advice would you share for future applicants who wish to follow the same path?

I had seen Lenovo at multiple events in my college and community before working with them (including that scholarship dinner of course!). So I’d advise students to definitely keep an eye out for events that they’re hosting or sponsoring. I had a few run-ins with them before interning for them, and I can confirm that the employees and the University Recruiting team are very friendly.

That covers the interview of Cynthia Vanessa Rios and her fascinating experience of working in a renowned company such as Lenovo in these difficult times. Aside from her experience in web development, she is also the Secretary of the Quantum Information Club at NC State as well as the Webmaster of her school’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and both these activities have boosted her skills immensely. 

Scholarship Track is proud to be encouraging young women like Cynthia to follow their dreams and we are confident that she will definitely achieve her goals!

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