Planning ahead: Brandywine IST majors discuss benefits of interning early

MEDIA, Pa. — Joseph Longobardi and Tisa Huynh, Penn State Brandywine seniors studying information sciences and technology (IST), got a head start on their internship requirements. Today, they’re reaping the benefits of their foresight and face promising careers after graduation.

When they began their freshman years at Brandywine, they immediately set their sights on internships.

“I applied to over 50 positions,” said Huynh. “Brandywine’s Office of Career Services was already sending me information about career fairs and internships, and Penn State’s online directories were available to me, so I didn’t want to wait.”

Longobardi went to his adviser, Nannette D’Imperio, instructor in information sciences and technology, to find his internship.

“She suggested USLI to me because previous students had found good opportunities there,” he said. “She explained the business and how it used technology, and I was very interested.”

Both students began internships by the end of their freshman year — Huynh with Liberty Mutual and Longobardi with USLI. As they juggled work and classes over the next three years, they discovered a symbiotic relationship between their classroom and career experiences.

“I worked from an unpaid internship to a paid internship at Liberty Mutual,” said Huynh, “and then I took an internship with a law firm in Philadelphia. Between that and my classwork, I started seeing what I liked and realized that I wanted to be a software developer.”

“The work experience is great,” added Longobardi, “but I also realize that I wouldn’t be able to have success without the schoolwork as well. The IST program at Brandywine gave me fundamentals and helped me build a foundation for what I do at USLI.”

According to Longobardi, classes at Brandywine also prepared him to remain adaptable in a field of constant change.

“IST is always evolving. I’ve literally seen technologies change completely just in my three years at USLI,” he said. “You have to learn to be agile.”

When Huynh and Longobardi received their diplomas at Brandywine’s commencement ceremony on May 6, they already had almost four years of real-world work experience on their résumés. They also have what every graduate hopes to obtain: employment right after school.

Longobardi will begin working with Sicom, a tech company based in Doylestown. Huynh applied at 10 different companies, including Google, and received offers from nearly all of them.

“Sicom handles pretty much all of the technology for the Burger King where I work,” said Longobardi, “so I already have firsthand knowledge of their products.” 

“I received so much support from my academic environment,” said Huynh. “My class on structures and algorithms really helped me with my interviews at Google and other top companies.”

As Huynh and Longobardi transition into full-time employment, they encourage other Brandywine students to follow in their footsteps and begin interning early.

“I’m glad I started early,” Longobardi said. “It teaches you how to learn on the job and builds a strong foundation. Then you can take it from there.”