Semirah Dolan '18: Internship at eBay

Semirah Dolan '18 views her software engineering internship in Silicon Valley as a priceless opportunity.

Semirah Dolan '18 outside eBay sign
  • Year: Class of 2018
  • Major: Mechanical Engineering
  • Minor: Computer Science
  • Hometown: Boston, MA
  • Award: Leduc Leader Award
  • Internships: eBay, Johnson & Johnson, Alcoa, Naval Warfare Center
  • Service: Greenlight for Girls, Million Man March

Software engineering internship at eBay

I spent the summer building an API for eBay's Trust and Safety Team. It was a priceless opportunity in Silicon Valley. I worked with and lived next to engineers from top Fortune 500 companies.

The internship expedited my professional career to heights necessary on my path to being a CEO.

I contributed code to the largest code base I've ever seen and learned how code is shipped in a large software company. I learned how to build an API from scratch, merge it with other back-end functions, and create a great service that improves a customer's experience.

I also learned new software, tools, and jargon that are needed to successfully be a back-end software engineer.

National Society of Black Engineers

I'm the president of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter at UMassD. I started as secretary, before becoming vice-president, and now president.

NSBE increases the number of black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.

NSBE is a community of students in engineering helping each other out. We are a resource for the 30-60 students who attend weekly.

Internship at Naval Warfare Center

The Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) provided me with the opportunity to participate in research at a Department of Navy (DoN) laboratory during the summer.

The goals of SEAP are to encourage students to pursue science and engineering careers, further their education via mentoring by laboratory personnel and participation in research, and make them aware of DoN research and technology efforts, which can lead to employment.

The internship gave me hands-on experience that helped me find my passion in engineering. I was exposed to the daily work life of an engineer, and I was able to decide where in this industry I can optimize my skills and talent.

When employers see that I’ve been employed as a naval engineer, they’re very impressed by the work I’ve been exposed to and the skills I’ve gained. Getting diverse experience gives you a well-rounded perspective on the work that you do.

Future plans: supporting STEM students

I decided to major in mechanical engineering because it’s one of the broadest types of engineering: I could do anything from manufacturing to marketing. I participated in a co-op at Johnson & Johnson as a manufacturing engineer, and I’d love to see more UMass Dartmouth students do the same.

There are so many opportunities available for STEM students, but the biggest roadblock is support, which I plan on providing with the non-profit I’m starting called Just Apply, Inc.

From Greenlight for Girls to the Million Man March

I’ve volunteered with the computer science department and the computer security club for their annual Greenlight for Girls event. I also went on a service trip to the Million Man March with the Frederick Douglass Unity House.

I’ve taught self-defense and sailing, worked with New Balance as a brand ambassador for their breast cancer awareness campaign, and programmed video games using the Oculus Rift at a hackathon.

These experiences really shaped my college experience and provided me with productive tools for my career.

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