Influencers

From College In Omaha To An Internship With Apple

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During her sophomore year of high school, Kat Slump had to make a choice.

The choice was between a piano class and a computer programming course. She chose computer programming and the rest is history.

As a student, Kat has excelled in the Omaha tech world and secured multiple internships included a coveted one with Apple at their headquarters in California.

We talked with Kat about her path, how she balances a busy schedule and how she secured her internship with Apple.

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When and how did you fall in love with the tech world?

I fell in love with the tech world by coincidence. The second semester of sophomore year in high school, my schedule was a mess. My guidance counselor said I only had two choices for classes- piano or computer programming. I had no idea what computer programming was, but there was no way I was taking piano as a class (my mom had forced me to play when I was younger). So, I took a leap of faith and joined the programming course. For my final project I made a slot machine in Visual Basic. I’m pretty sure I fell in love!

You’ve balanced classes, being involved on campus and multiple internships? What have been the keys to your success as a student?

My Google calendar! You think I’m joking, but I’m serious! Management has been key in staying on top of things. If it’s not on my Google calendar chances are it will never happen! Besides my calendar, I really owe it all to my friends and family. There were a lot of weekends I would stay in and be MIA due to exhaustion. They really understood my goals and supported me through thick and thin (even if it meant not seeing me for weeks at a time).

How do you get selected for the internship with Apple?

I met an awesome recruiter last year at the Grace Hopper Celebration in Phoenix. I was too young for the program they had suggested for me, so I really kicked it into gear after the conference. I really strapped down and worked on my development, as well as my leadership. I was fortunate to have secured a spot to interview at Grace Hopper this year in Houston where I was offered an internship.

How competitive was the process of getting the internship at Apple?

Apple employs some of the most brilliant minds in the world. It was pretty competitive. The internship had been a goal if mine for a year and a half. I was prepping for about a year in multiple areas- from getting more experience in industry, practicing coding interview problems, working on my leadership, etc. In the end it was all things I loved doing, so although I was busier, the preparation never felt like a chore!

What are you most looking forward to with the Apple internship.

Everything! Apple products are in the hands of people across the globe. The impact the company makes is tremendous. I think I am most excited about being around ridiculously brilliant people- learning from them and the experience in any way I possibly can.

What would your advice be to students who want to have a successful experience on and off campus like you have?

Try things. Be bold. I never would have had the opportunities I did unless I stepped out of my comfort zone. For me, it was getting involved with the Omaha startup community. I met so many amazing people and many of them serve as mentors to me today.

Why was choosing your university a great decision?

I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities the University of Nebraska at Omaha has provided. Over my college career, I have been able to play Division I golf, travel Japan with little to no expense, attend Grace Hopper on scholarships, and intern at some of the greatest startups in Omaha!

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Antonio Neves is the author of '50 Things Every College Student Should Know.' He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.