Rising junior Harvey Wang '24 participated in Keller's global internship the Princeton Startup Immersion Program (PSIP) this summer. Due to COVID restrictions some of the opportunities remained remote this summer. But the program administrators worked outside the box to create a productive and engaging experience for all the PSIP students. Wang shares his experience in the program with us:
Last summer, I spent 90% of my time inside my room at home. As lockdowns lifted I thought this was finally my opportunity to explore the world, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted into PSIP and secured an internship with Laiye, an intelligent automation startup based in Shanghai.
But as 2022 kicked off, it became glaringly apparent that I wouldn’t be able to work in Shanghai after all. Thankfully the program manager and coordinator Lilian Tsang and Manda Ryan made adjustments in the program so that the Shanghai interns would be working and living with the New York cohort in New York CIty for the summer. Finally I could get out of the house!
There is really no other place in the world like New York City, and though I visited many times, living in the city was a whole new experience that exceeded my expectations. My first week was dedicated to getting accustomed to the lifestyle of a New Yorker: walking, commuting via subway, walking some more, eating out, etc.
At the same time, my fellow Laiye interns and I had to get accustomed to working virtually. Our company used a platform that essentially combines all work tools (email, video meetings, messaging, docs/sheets) into one cohesive application that took some getting used to.
Each morning I would meet up with the other Laiye interns, to hop around different cafes and libraries in search of the best spots to work around town. Our favorite spots were the Stavros Foundation New York Public Library and a variety of local cafes. Though we were fully virtual, I think we managed to make the most of our remote workstyle by taking it as an opportunity to explore various locations around Manhattan.
Working at Laiye has exposed me to some characteristics of the startup culture I was hoping to experience as part of PSIP. For example, with a small subteam of only five members, my department is in constant communication. There is no shortage of tasks to complete, and everybody works at an alarmingly fast pace. We’ve held many meetings at 11 in the morning, which is 11 in the evening for the team in Shanghai. Still, with a motivated and passionate group of coworkers, it’s hard not to be excited to be working for Laiye.
Since many other university students also shared the same building as the PSIP cohort, I’ve befriended several bright and outgoing students who were also spending the summer in the city. With countless people here and things to do, I’ve found that working virtually—remotely from the city—provided a real-world work experience and the personal adventure I was hoping to have in a summer internship.
PSIP students intern with key decision makers at emerging startup companies in New York City, Shanghai, and Tel Aviv. In this 10-week summer program students gain real-world experience, make valuable connections, and create lifelong memories.