Pre-pandemic, Vicki Bjerke-Schuur worked in travel. She knew first-hand that the tech tools of her industry were in need of an upgrade. Bjerke-Schuur thought to herself, “I could do this so much better.” And that’s just what she set out to do. In 2020 she launched FerskTech, an all-in-one travel platform designed to better organize and manage supplier data.

With ten fulltime employees on staff, Bjerke-Schuur decided she wanted to hire an intern as well. “Internships are really important,” she said. “I want someone who’s interned at my company to really understand and be ready for a job when they graduate.” After posting a position on the SciTech job board, Bjerke-Schuur’s team found and hired Syntish Masson, a computer science and security technologies major at Metropolitan State University.

“Syntish was somebody who really fit the personality we were looking for,” said Software Engineer Nathan Downey. “Someone that, maybe didn’t have all the experience or expertise right off the bat, but Syntish showed that she was someone who works hard and learns fast, and we thought that was so much more important.”

“The drive, and the hunger was there,” added CTO Jay Hopia. “The culture fit too, of who she was, also fit with us.”

Coding in the deep-end
While at FerskTech, Masson put her drive for solving problems into action, working on an assortment of web development and backend projects.

Downey worked closely with Masson and often looked for ways to challenge her and foster her development. She recalled a project he gave her only a week or so into her internship where she had to change a chart legend with a coding language she had never used before.

“It was my first-time coding in HTML and CSS and I actually made it work, I was so proud,” Masson said happily. “That’s when I felt the most like, ‘Okay, I might not know much, but I can do this.’”

“There were so many times when I threw Syntish in the deep-end to let her learn, and I was always really impressed by what came back,” Downey said proudly. “In reference to the legend project, I gave her two one-hour videos, just a quick crash-course, and maybe two days later she came back and it was done perfectly, I had no feedback for her. That was really awesome.”

A confidence upgrade
Masson is graduating in May and is hoping to secure fulltime work before that. This experience, she said, “helped me a lot. I will take this with me when I go for a job interview, and I’ll feel much more confident.”

As Masson wraps up her FerskTech internship, now prepared and eager for a career in coding, Bjerke-Schuur can feel confident that her goal for her first intern was met. Sending Masson off, Bjerke-Schuur said, “Believe in your ideas and believe that you can do anything. Never be afraid to try.”

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