5 Years Later: How tip is still shaping Steven Pham’s Life

5 Years Later: How tip is still shaping Steven Pham’s Life

Steven Pham was one of the first students to participate in The Intern Project (TIP) 5 years ago, when it launched. He was placed at Fullscreen, and is still remembered fondly by the staff there. Today, Steven is graduating from USC, about to embark on the next chapter of his life.

Here, Steven talks about how TIP influenced his college career and his professional path.

How did you find out about TIP at the time?

Through a teacher of mine during junior year in high school, Leslie Aaronson.* Ms. Aaronson was committed to supporting her students’ technology and career interests, and she hosted a mock career fair. Megan Chernin** attended, and Ms. Aaronson suggested I speak with her. Megan talked about The Intern Project. I felt a connection with Megan, and I applied.

How did you choose to intern at Fullscreen?

Fullscreen was the most appealing employer to me. I was super interested in YouTube. I wanted to be a part of the industry. I applied to TIP with the hope of getting the internship with Fullscreen.

Looking back on your TIP internship with Fullscreen, what tools did that experience give you that are still supporting your success today?

It was amazing. Just being a high schooler, I found it kind of intimidating going into the industry with all these adults. I didn’t realize how nice adults at Fullscreen would be. Everyone was always willing to help. I really got a sense of what industry life was like. Everyone there was very talented. Me being in high school, I learned so much. Being able to absorb and take in what everyone was saying was very valuable to me. Getting that paycheck and getting that experience – that was one of the more valuable experiences of my high school career.

I’m still connected to my mentor at Fullscreen, Daniel Breitberg. If I ever need anything, he is always there for me. I check in on him to see if he’s doing okay, as well, and he does the same for me.

What else has changed since your junior year in high school, before you did TIP?

In high school, I was very introverted. I was too shy to really talk to people. Over time, having the chance to talk to more and more people helped me realize people are not as scary or judgmental as you think they are. People don’t have the intention to hurt you; they want to help you.

Did your TIP experience change your career path?

Back in high school, I was considering a more medical / school-driven route. Interning at Fullscreen, I gained insight into the industry. I decided to incorporate more of the business side, as well as data-driven work, into my career. I majored in industrial engineering.

Each week at Fullscreen we’d shadow different departments. The business and editing department, the technical side of the company, really resonated with me. I tried to center my college curriculum around that.

Today is my last day of class at USC. Finals will be next week. It’s a really crazy feeling. I’m really happy that I went to USC and met all the people that I did.

What comes next for you?

I am going to work for Ernst and Young starting in October as a tech consultant. I really like the fact that consulting is more project-based. I feel that I haven’t explored all the industries that exist. Consulting gives you that perspective on different industries.

Participants in LA Promise Fund programming remain part of our community, even years after their involvement. Our current The Intern Project director, Rhea Trinanes, worked with Steven recently on resume edits and interview prep. Want to support high school interns? Join us! Learn more here: https://www.theinternproject.org/

Center: Lucy and Steven, two TIPsters, with Erica Ann Putze on the left, Lucy’s Fullscreen mentor, and Daniel Breitberg on the right, Steven’s Fullscreen mentor in 2014.

*Leslie Aaronson now runs Girls Build school programming at the LA Promise Fund

**Megan Chernin is the co-chair of the LA Promise Fund board and the creator of The Intern Project.