From Internship to Job Offer at Nike
With commencement behind them, members of the class of 2017 are deep in the process of launching their career plans.
But for Tomas Yanez BA ’17, who hails from Minneapolis, the task was made easier by first landing a coveted internship with Portland-based Nike and then leveraging it into a permanent job offer. We sat down with him to discuss his new position.
You majored in math and computer science. Why did you pick these subjects?
I’ve always been interested in math—it seems like I’ve been counting since I gained consciousness! But I didn’t know that much about computer science until recently. I took a class in high school, but it was technically an art class. When I got to Lewis & Clark, I wanted to double major in physics and Hispanic studies. I ended up dropping Hispanic studies, so I needed to come up with something else. Out of the blue, I decided to take Computer Science 1 with Nicholas Tiller BA ’09, an instructor here at the college. That experience helped me decide that I’d rather do computer science over physics.
How did you land the Nike internship in summer 2016?
During the spring of my junior year, Nick was teaching Android development. I really wanted to take his class because I like the way he teaches. At that time, he was also working at Nike. He sent me an email asking if I wanted an internship that summer. I immediately responded, “Yes, please!” Later that same week, I talked to Nick’s manager at Nike, and a week after that, I got a contract for the summer internship. Nick is a great guy, and I would not be where I am if it weren’t for him.
What was the internship like?
It was really cool. During the internship, I worked on the Nike+ SNKRS app, fixing bugs and adding features. The intern program itself was great, too. We went to talks from heads of different departments. I remember listening to a marketing director talk about making commercials for Nike. We also did outside stuff like river rafting. I met a lot of good friends.
How did the internship lay the building blocks for the job offer?
Getting the internship is the hardest part. Once you’re in, you’re in. The most important thing is showing that you can do the work and get along with the team. At the end of September, they offered me a permanent position. I start June 12.
What will you be doing in your new job?
I’m still waiting for my official assignment, but I’ll be an Android developer.
You were also an RA at Lewis & Clark. How did that experience contribute to your leadership skills and career preparation?
Before I was an RA, I was loud. Some people liked that about me, some people didn’t. But as an RA you have to find a balance: yes, you want to be heard, yes, you want to be seen, but you also want those things to happen in a good way. Being an RA taught me a lot about self-confidence, including how to talk to groups and express my thoughts more clearly. It helped me be a better person overall.
During my internship at Nike, I was segregated from the rest of the team because of the way my desk was positioned. But my RA training—and my extroverted personality—helped me a lot. I could just walk over and say, “What’s up guys? I’m the intern. How’s it going?” That approach obviously worked really well with the team because they gave me positive reviews and wanted me back. I can’t wait to get started!
—Compiled by Samantha Pratt BA ’20