Sneak Peak: Melissa Spencer shares what led her to apply for the DME web development internship and her goals for the program. She takes us through her typical day as part of the team.

Melissa, a web development intern from Fairfield, California, discovered the DME internship program through an email her fiancé forwarded to her from his school. Drawn to the flexibility DME internships offer and the virtual aspect that still allows for learning and collaboration with fellow interns, she applied.

Melissa is in her fourth year of studying information technology with a focus in network systems security. Her classes in web design, programming, computer systems and databases prepared her to work on the web development team, which works mainly on further developing and enhancing the DME website. Melissa is excited to learn and build up more experience. Her goal for her time as an intern is to expand her programming knowledge and learn more about web development applications, such as WordPress. According to Melissa, a programming background is important to have. She has benefitted from having experience with HTML and CSS, which are the base of the web development projects she has worked on so far. There will be learning opportunities and help available, but prior experience will make the job easier. Melissa also advises future interns not to fear taking on additional projects. It can be beneficial to dabble in other departments, as you will learn more when you branch out versus sticking to one project.

To start the day, Melissa checks Slack for any relevant updates. She plans in advance what tasks to complete during the 2 to 3 hours per day she dedicates to the internship. Currently, Melissa’s projects include creating a quiz that can help prospective interns determine which position is best for them and proposing a redesign for the Veterans Affairs website homepage. She is also working on the VA COVID-19 Archive project, which compiles pictures that highlight the VA’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Writer: Erica MacSweeney
Graphics Designer: Grace Yang
Editor: Christine Myers