Intern Surafel Bekele

About the company:
BetterYou is a digital wellness company and their app acts as a digital wellness coach, helping its users track their productivity to manage personal goals and encourage healthier choices.

Many of BetterYou’s clients are colleges and universities, who purchase subscriptions to the app so their students can use it for free. As the number of users grow, so does the workload.

“Being a startup, we’re short staffed and we need all-hands-on-deck, especially around compiling data and addressing customer success issues,” explained Andy Steinbrueck, a Backend Developer at BetterYou. “On the backend, there’re only three of us. We’re building out features, and we have to test those features. So having someone like Surafel is a breath of fresh air.”

The team at BetterYou have hosted internships for the last three or four years. But this spring was the first time they hired through the SciTech Internship Program, a state-funded resource, that helps connect STEM students with paid opportunities in small Minnesota companies.

Roughly 10 qualified candidates applied for the Tech Support Engineer position, but it was Surafel Bekele, a computer science major at Metropolitan State University, who made the cut.

“We needed someone who can do all of these tasks, figure them out by themselves and take that initiative. Surafel has been very helpful on that end,” Steinbrueck said.

Meet the intern:
During his internship, Bekele’s tasks involve compiling data around some of the user-facing modules and writing code for backend upkeep. His favorite experience so far, however, was getting to work with the database.

“I’ve really liked going through the database,” Bekele said. “When you go through it, you can see how the whole app is structured and you can utilize it to help both with the customer side and the backend side as well. Working with the database and getting my hands dirty, it’s fun and it gives me more experience but also meets the needs of the company.”

Bekele’s contributions and company-mindfulness have been greatly appreciated by Steinbrueck and the team, easily surpassing their initial expectations.

“There were some more menial tasks that we had built out for this internship – very important work that has just been tough for our team to prioritize. Sura’s skills and ability to pick up things made it apparent that he could handle these tasks and much more and he has excelled at the work we’ve given him,” said Customer Success Manager Denae Friedheim.

Looking back, Bekele said, it’s knowing that he’s left his mark on BetterYou that really made this experience significant. “I feel like the work I’m doing here is actual work that will help the company,” he concluded. “I’ve helped move things forward. At the end of my internship, I’ll for sure feel like I’ve left a good situation and I’ve done things well.”