Summer in Silicon Valley

Thursday, August 9, 2018
Rising Junior Elise Brown is spending her summer working in Silicon Valley for Carbon, a 3D printing company
MMS Student Elise Brown

My name is Elise Brown. I am a rising junior pursuing a major in Computer Science, a minor in Finance, and a certificate in Markets & Management Studies. I am currently a Service Engineering intern at Carbon, a 3D printing company that works at the intersection of hardware, software, and molecular science. I first gained exposure to Carbon at a dinner & panel discussion event last summer with the Duke Technology Scholars Program (DTech), a program that works to inspire a more diverse group of Duke students to choose careers in computer science and electrical & computer engineering by providing students with mentorship, relationships with industry professionals, and hands-on work experience. After meeting some of the Carbon team that evening, I immediately knew I wanted to pursue a role there.

As a Service Engineering intern, I use software tools & data analytics to help us better understand our customers & improve the ways we interact with them. Some projects that I have worked on include using a data visualization software to publish dashboards displaying customer print data, publishing a user manual for a dashboard series, and a personal project of building a multivariate regression model to predict when customers will break printer parts. Since the company is still under rapid growth, I love how the work that I have done is impactful to the company & will continue to be used by different teams in the future.

In my time at Carbon, I have had the awesome opportunity to work alongside brilliant people from teams such as Operations, Customer Service, and Software. Quite honestly, the best parts of my days at Carbon have been my interactions & conversations with people from different teams (and their dogs!) during breaks, lunch, and after work. In fact, since the CEO is from Chapel Hill, I have had the chance to connect with a huge network of Duke & UNC alumni (who work surprisingly well together despite the huge rivalry!).

I learned a lot about myself & the working world throughout my summer in Silicon Valley. For starters, working at Carbon has exposed me to a company culture that I will forever value & look for in my future work endeavors. Carbon espouses the belief that diversity — of perspectives and disciplines — accelerates innovation. Despite the diversity in race, age, gender, and educational background, all Carbon employees strive to uphold the same company culture of openness, learning, collaboration, and ingenuity. Working at Carbon has also given me the chance to reflect on how different organizations are run, a concept that I studied in the Technology and Organizational Environments MMS course during my sophomore spring semester. I’m excited to further relate my summer internship experience to my coursework in future MMS courses.

This summer in Silicon Valley has been filled with new friendships, opportunities to cultivate my technical skills, and valuable life lessons from different people in the tech industry. All in all, I highly recommend other MMS students to experience life at Carbon!

Elise is writing as part of our Summer Guest Blog series. We will be featuring students in MMS all summer as they travel on study abroad trips and internships. For updates on future students' experiences, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!