My internship at Intel

Randy Matos, electrical engineering doctoral student.

Randy Matos, electrical engineering doctoral student.

Name: Randy Matos

Hometown: Technically, it’s Havana, Cuba. I left Cuba when I was three years old and moved to Tampa, Florida, where I lived until the age of 11. Then I moved to Miami and have lived here ever since.

What is your major? Electrical engineering

Where did you intern? I interned for Intel at their Hawthorne Farm campus in Hillsboro, Oregon.

What did you do there? I was a thermal and power management engineer under the Client Computing Group. The Client Computing Group manages all the aspects of the client computing business across multiple platforms (phones, tablets, PC computers), driving Intel’s corporate-wide user experience initiatives. A thermal and power management engineer tests electrical components and measures their electrical power consumption and how and where they generate heat. We then interpret the data received and make sure it is within design specification. Lastly, we designate the Thermal Design Power (TDP) for the device. This data is then used to support other teams within Intel and industry partners using our products.

How did you get your internship? I got the internship through the GEM Fellowship, offered by The National GEM Consortium, which I was awarded January 2017. GEM works with industry sponsors to match students with companies they like or have skills that align with what that company does. I chose Intel, and they felt I was a good match, so they sponsored me through GEM. With that sponsorship comes a paid summer internship. My supervisor at Intel told me he would need me for at least five months, so I took a break from school in the fall of 2017 so that I could work from July to December at Intel.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Think about the people also applying for that intern position, and realize that they probably all meet the minimum requirements. If you only have a degree in your field, it’s ultimately not enough to stand out. You need to find ways to make yourself more valuable and marketable. Think about all the projects you have done while working on your degree and see what skills came from that. Most engineering students have a senior design project, or some similar capstone project, which is actually valuable experience and can strengthen skills. Those kinds of things should not be left out of a resume. Also, try to talk to professors in your department and see if they have any positions for undergraduate/graduate research. Even if you don’t plan on obtaining a doctoral degree or going into a research-intensive field, being part of a research lab looks very strong on a resume.

What projects did you work on? Due to the nature of intellectual property, I cannot discuss specific projects, but I can discuss what I did in general. I worked with a team. My team would receive a batch of “future Intel platforms” (chips and processors) from the fabrication facility. We would then put these platforms through a series of specific stress tests while monitoring their thermal output, as well as their electrical power consumption. This data would be collected, analyzed and then discussed between the team to make sure everyone was in agreement with the results. Our conclusions would then be followed up in three ways: our sister team, which consisted of thermal mechanical system engineers, would take the data and design the heat sinks that go on this platform for Intel branded products. Next, we would share the data with business partners that are using these platforms so they can better understand and integrate them into their systems. Finally, our data would serve to specify the Thermal Design Power (TDP) of that platform, which as the name suggests, is the power limit you would design to maintain within its safe thermal range.

How did your internship connect back to your coursework? It’s hard to pinpoint. I would say the strongest connection was in the lab portion of certain classes. It was similar to the circuits lab, or power lab, where we deal directly with hardware for data collection. However, it goes without saying that the hardware at Intel was far more advanced than what we use in the lab. I would go as far as to say that I don’t believe the coursework itself helped in any single capacity, it’s more of the type of individual you become from the coursework that will allow you to think along the right lines, find the right way to tackle the problem, and ultimately succeed.

Randy Matos, electrical engineering doctoral student, with other Intel interns during fall 2017.

Randy Matos, electrical engineering doctoral student, with other Intel interns during fall 2017.

What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? I had already graduated with a master’s degree in electrical engineering from FIU when I started interning at Intel, so on my team I was held to some regard, which unbeknownst to me was strengthened by my actions. To me, I was just the intern, the new guy at the bottom who didn’t really “know” anything. I mean, I knew I was good, but this is what I thought the perception of me was. However, as time went on, I found myself supporting more and more people. I would get emails or instant messages over the company system asking for my help or input. Before I knew it, I wasn’t really just the intern anymore, I was a part of the team. Even our lab manager mentioned to me that he felt like I wasn’t even new there, he felt like I had been there for a while.

But the coolest thing that happened to me was during one of our tech forums, our weekly team meeting where we talk about technology and the work we are doing. One of our team members was giving a presentation and discussed some phenomena he was seeing in the data from another team. He couldn’t understand why that phenomena was happening, nor did anyone else in the room. Because my focus has always been in micro- and nano-scale fabrication and device physics, I was able to give them an understanding of what was happening. The presenter then asked me to set up a meeting with him to give a lecture on what was happening for the next time he gives the presentation. The feeling I got from that experience was pretty awesome and somewhat indescribable.

What did you like most about your experience? To be quite honest … being at Intel. I know that sounds cliché, but the benefits are amazing and they treat their employees really well. My manager also helped to make that feeling more prominent as he was very understanding of any situations that made me have to work from home. He was also not too strict on hours, so I could almost come in when I wanted to (almost), as long as my work was getting done and meeting the deadline.

What did you learn about yourself? I can’t really say I learned anything new about myself, but living away from home was definitely an interesting experience. I have had my own place here in Miami for some time, but my dad still lives with me since he’s retired and medically disabled due to a heart condition he has. This was the first time I lived completely separate from him. Communicating with people in Oregon was far easier than communicating with people in Miami; overall people are more considerate and nicer. From what I have heard, that seems to be the trend with major cities like Miami.

How did the position increase your professional confidence? I wouldn’t say my personal confidence went up, as I generally feel pretty confident in what I have spent almost a decade studying, but I would say my general confidence went up. Seeing as I can now place Intel on my resume/CV, it really helps to strengthen me and make myself more marketable.

How did you expand your professional network? One of the first things I did at Intel was to start emailing people that I saw working on things that caught my interest. Once you are in Intel, or any company for that matter, most people in the company are just an email or instant message away. This really helps to start making connections. You never know who might remember you and get back to you in the future.

How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?” It helped remind me that I am still a student because I choose to be. It lets me see that because of all the hard work I’ve done, I can already be a stable and successful member of society. It also reminded me that I am not done. There is more to do to get to where I want to be and to achieve my personal goals. Stay tuned!