“No, I actually don’t serve people any coffee” is the response I’ve found myself using the most so far when talking to people about my summer internship. I’ll start from the beginning. My internship this summer is for a publishing company here in Walla Walla named Coffey Communications, which regrettably happens to sound like a place where some might go to have an evening latte and chat with friends. But in all actuality its name comes from Cecil and Barbra Coffey who founded this agency as a marketing agency in 1975, which has since switched to a sole focus on healthcare marketing in 1983.
So what does that even mean and where do I fit into all of this? Well, in simple terms you know all those health pamphlets you see on the desk while you sit in a Hospital’s waiting room? Well, those very well could have been designed, written, published and printed by us (considering Coffey has a range of clients over the US). Now you may be thinking that I must be a great writer or perhaps designer since I landed a gig here and I hate to break the news to you but the extent of my artistic talent happens to be poorly drawn stick figures on the side of my encounters notebook. Instead, I’m the intern in the local Information Systems department in which requires much less of an artistic knack compared to the other divisions.
Information Systems (IS for short) is basically just another name for an IT department. The IS department at Coffey consists of 2 other members besides me – the big boss Brian (he’s awesome), and my cubicle mate Jef (also awesome). Together we solve the crimes of the technological world at Coffey Communications (rather, they solve the crimes and I’m just kind of there). My main project for the summer, besides learning all I can from watching them work, involves setting up servers to monitor the logs of all the other existing servers. These logs for example can tell us if there is perhaps an unusual number of failed log-in attempts as a certain user meaning someone could be trying to guess someone else’s password. Things like this and other security concerns that pop up are especially important due to the fact that Hospitals we deal with contain plenty of sensitive patient material.
My typical day consists of working both independently and with my boss working out how to get the servers up and running to hopefully be production ready in a week or two. Following that, I’ll be working out some reports on the data we will collect from it as well as create visuals for those who can use the data outside of the IS department. From time to time I will be able to visit with members of the other departments to familiarize myself with what they do and even be able to ask them for any general mentoring advice. Wrapping up my internship for the summer, I’ll be expected to give a 20-30 minute presentation on my work for the summer to the management team and any other interested parties, wish me luck!