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A Day in the Life of an iCenter Intern

Raleigh, NC

By Hannah Caison

My name is Hannah Caison, and this summer I have been really enjoying my time as an intern at the North Carolina Innovation Center. Being an intern here has shown me that interns at the iCenter are an integral part of the team. Not only do we help support day-to-day operations of the center, we are also here to provide new ideas and continuously push the iCenter to be on the cutting edge of innovative technologies and ideas. This range of responsibilities means that as an intern at the iCenter I help to support the center as both a program and as a place. During my time here I have learned that every day at the iCenter is different and being open to embracing ambiguity and finding opportunities in challenges is critical. So far, I have found my time at the iCenter to be both exciting and rewarding. 

Hannah Caison writes on an interactive screenA key part of being an intern at the iCenter is supporting the physical location of the center. This means that in my first few days as an intern I familiarized myself with all the rooms in the iCenter, as well as what technological capabilities each room has. Being comfortable with each room's technology was crucial so that I was well prepared to provide assistance or suggestions to visitors to the space.

Another part of the iCenter that I needed to quickly familiarize myself with is the Device Room and all of the technology it houses. On any given day, I might be in the Device Room to spend a large portion of my day testing out a recently received technology or there for just a moment to grab whatever tech will ensure a visitor's meeting goes smoothly. Having access to the Device Room and learning more about all the technology the iCenter has available has both allowed me to get hands on experience with cutting edge technologies as well as understand how they can be used to support the public sector. 

While supporting the physical space that is the iCenter is an important part of my role, it is equally important that I take an active role in furthering the iCenter as a program. This means that I have had the opportunity to take the lead on several iCenter initiatives and identify opportunities for innovation within North Carolina. The most exciting thing about being an intern here is that every initiative that the iCenter takes on comes with a unique set of challenges and needs that must be met, which means that I have the opportunity to find innovative solutions to these unique challenges. One of my favorite initiatives that I have been able to be a part of this summer was developing content for a visit from a student group, Juntos. These students were able to spend the morning learning about careers in state government and I planned activities that would showcase some of the projects the iCenter is currently working on. The students were exposed to virtual reality technology, 360-degree photography technology, and drone videography and photography. I loved having the opportunity to share the ways that North Carolina is embracing new technology and I hope that it encouraged some of the students to pursue careers in this field.  

When I came on board at the iCenter I knew that to succeed here I would have to be driven and creative, and from speaking with others who work here I knew that being successful would require that I thrive in an environment where no one has all of the answers. Being comfortable with ambiguity, approaching each day with a willingness to speak my mind and offer up a differing idea or opinion about the best way to solve a problem has allowed me to have a real impact during my time here. As an iCenter intern, I have found that opportunities are limitless, and I know this is an experience that will impact me long after my time here as an intern is finished.

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