Who’s the #1 intern in the U.S.? Well, right on the heels of this week’s announcement about WayUp’s 100 top internship programs, we have more exciting news to share: We’ve just crowned our 2018 Intern 100 list, including grand-prize-winning Intern of the Year, Greg Wolff!
WayUp created the Intern 100 list to highlight the most ambitious, passionate, and talented interns in the country. More than 700 interns applied and more than 40,000 public votes were cast!
Why’d Greg come out on top? Well, he’s got a very impressive resume and a long list of accomplishments under his belt already. And he’s one of the most motivated, engaged interns you’ll find anywhere. To recognize him for his award, Greg will win some awesome prizes provided by Red Bull, including a one year supply of Red Bull Energy Drink, $200 in Red Bull swag, and tickets for a VIP festival experience!
We sat down with Greg to learn more about his background, his intern skills, and his long-term goals. Read through our interview to learn more about him—and make sure you check out the full list of Intern 100 list winners here!
Where Did You Grow Up?
San Diego, California
What College Do You Go To?
University of California, Santa Cruz
How/Why Did You Choose UC Santa Cruz?
Santa Cruz’s curriculum is very ethically engaged and socially proactive. I chose a residential college that focused on Power and Representation—specifically how we can form ourselves individually regarding representations of class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and race.
What’s Your Major?
Why Did You Select Computer Science?
I chose Computer Science in an effort to make myself a more multidisciplinary, well-rounded person. Throughout high school I was developing creative skills (specifically with film, graphic, and motion design). But I wanted to immerse myself in a completely new subject to be able to carry out projects independently. I believe being able to harness both design and development in product work is immensely powerful.
How Did You Land Your Internship At Airbnb?
I applied to Airbnb because of their attention toward possible ways the product and resources of the company might solve societal issues. Specifically, the human team at Airbnb focuses on solving humanitarian problems like offering temporary housing to refugees, evacuees, and other individuals in need. Aligning with the company’s mission you’re applying for is vastly important, and I believe essential for landing an internship. If you’re not passionate or motivated about the work the company is doing, it’ll become very exhausting to put in your all in when work gets hectic.
Can You Talk About A Mentor You’ve Had In Your Career? How Did That Person Affect You?
At school, I volunteer in a research lab focusing on the intersection of social computing and human-computer interaction. This includes topics such as crowdsourcing, collective intelligence, social networks, computational social choice, and participatory democracy. My mentor, David Lee, founded the lab to focus on researching methods for large-scale collaboration to support nonprofits, and on scaling opportunities for research and entrepreneurship as a way to enable curiosity and passion-driven learning.
Throughout my experience in the lab, David mentored me on areas of development and design, but truly impacted the outlook I had on my career by nourishing an environment where I could deeply consider what intrinsically motivates me. Making career decisions based solely upon salary, recognition, or praise ultimately isn’t sustainable—and taking the time to consider what you are deeply passionate about is worthwhile for the outlook of your career.
Why Do You Think Internships Are Important?
Internships are valuable in two ways. First, they serve as a method for you to dip your toes in the water. You get a hands-on experience with a company and you’re exposed to real work in a real environment. By the end of the summer, you typically have something to show for the work you’ve done. Secondly, you’ve experienced an entire summer of learning. Being in an industry environment gives you constant learnings, insights, and areas to improve. Whether or not you receive a return offer, your internship helps you grow individually.
What Would Be Your Dream Job?
For me, I’d like to be working in a role that combines both design and development—where I can exercise both skillsets in a multidisciplinary manner. Beyond the role, though, I’d ideally like the work that I’m doing to be meaningful for a larger community. I’m specifically interested in ways that technological innovation can affect underrepresented communities, specifically how volunteer crowdsourcing can benefit LGBTQ+ people.
What Will You Look For In Your Next Internship Or Job?
For my next internship or job, I’d like to move toward something completely new. I believe a wholesome career constitutes constant change. If there isn’t room to keep growing and learning at your current company, it may be time to venture toward a new company. And if you’ve mastered your current discipline, it may be worth journeying into something completely new.
What Advice Do You Have For Other Interns?
Try to make the most of your summer. Whichever company you’re at, have one-on-ones with as many people as you can, read up on any historical projects or information, and try to get as integrated into the company as you possibly can.
Also, beyond work, try to meet new people within the city you’re interning.The summer internship experience is unique. You can leave work and enjoy yourself by checking out a new neighborhood or a new bar with erstwhile strangers.