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Howling Success: ‘Exceling’ at Microsoft

Selena Harrison in front of a brick building and an evening sunset

When Selena Harrison (communication ’22) received an offer letter for a highly competitive, paid summer internship with Microsoft, she immediately called her parents to share the news. 

“I told them in the same way that Kamala [Harris] called Joe [Biden] when they won the Presidential Election last year,” Harrison said with a laugh. “I told them ‘We did it! I’m going to Seattle this summer.’”

Although she didn’t get to work in Seattle this summer due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Harrison’s virtual internship with Microsoft’s communications department was still a dream come true. She was part of an international team and used platforms and technologies she had never used before. Despite being virtual, the internship also included plenty of perks, one of which was an Olivia Rodrigo concert as part of Microsoft’s Intern Day.

“My internship overall was a great learning experience, and I got to meet a lot of other interns and learn what it’s like working in a huge tech company,” she said.

A North Carolina native, Harrison came to NC State as a psychology major and changed to communication after discovering a passion for social media and technology. After completing an internship with a smaller company the previous summer, she sought assistance from the Career Development Center to help her score her “big” internship this year. From there, she met regularly with a career counselor, who helped fine-tune her resume, practice her interview skills and stay on track in the application process.

“I didn’t want myself not asking for help to be the reason why I didn’t get [an internship], so I reached out to the Career Development Center,” she said. “It was insane going from a small company with less than 5,000 employees to Microsoft, all while using their products and seeing their ads on TV and realizing that I was part of it all. I’m still surprised by just how big it was.”

Harrison advises other students to visit the Career Development Center and use all of the resources it has to offer. She was hesitant to ask for help herself at first, but now she’s glad she did.

“Just go and do it,” she said. “It can always help to have someone with more experience look at your resume and walk you through interview prep and cover letters. I would also advise other students to pay attention to internship deadlines. Don’t start looking for a summer internship in March because a lot of them are going to be gone. A lot of the really competitive internships start accepting applications like a year in advance, so be on the lookout for that too.”

Harrison is grateful to the Career Development Center, which also nominated her as a Howling Success. 

“It means a lot to me being able to come to NC State and have all these opportunities to grow and learn and apply my major,” she said. “I never really saw myself as being a “Howling Success,” especially in regard to getting my internship. I wasn’t involved in a lot of campus organizations; I didn’t have a 4.0 GPA — I just applied and thought, ‘if I get it, I get it. If I don’t, there are other opportunities.’ So, being able to actually get the interviews, get the internship and now be a Howling Success means a lot to me.”

This post was originally published in DASA.