Nov 20, 2018
By Lisa Di Venuta
What’s it’s like to be one of the 20 women chosen for the four-year internship program.
In the summer of 2016, Sabrina Bergsten was a recent high school graduate preparing for her freshman year at Marist College. Rather than hang out at the beach, Bergsten spent her weekdays trekking in and out of Times Square for a highly selective tech internship at Viacom’s headquarters.
And she was able to take advantage of some uniquely Viacom perks: attending the MTV VMAs, watching engineers test new augmented reality (AR) software, assisting with the launch of BET’s mobile app, and going to networking events on the company’s cafe terrace overlooking Times Square.
Bergsten’s story is a small piece of a larger partnership between Viacom and Girls Who Code (GWC), a national nonprofit organization focused on increasing the number of women in tech. For four years, Viacom has hosted a GWC summer immersion program for 20 high school women.
In 2016, Viacom expanded the initiative, becoming the only GWC corporate sponsor to develop a four-year college internship for select graduates of its summer program. Bergsten and two fellow students, Ana Leon and Zahraa Lopez, make up this inaugural GWC intern class, learning on-the-job at Viacom as they progress through college. After four years, they’ll have the opportunity to become full-time Viacom employees.
“Ultimately, our goal is to establish a pipeline of talent and help develop the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] skills that are vital to pursuing careers in tech,” says Viacom Chief Technology Officer Dave Kline. “We’re focused on crafting opportunities for the Girls Who Code alumni where they can explore, learn, and thrive in an all-encompassing environment surrounded by top-tier talent.”