Code for Success

Two students in St. Augustine College’s Computer Information Science (CIS) program land prestigious internships at multinational, Fortune 500 tech companies.

CHICAGO- When Gabriela Carrizo was growing up in Tucuman, Argentina, she had big dreams for her future. “When you’re a kid, you dream of the typical roles like doctor or astronaut. But as I got older, I fell for the world of computer coding,” says Carrizo, a sophomore in St. Augustine College’s (SAC) Computer Information Science (CIS) program. “I love science and I love technology, so I knew that computer science and engineering was the career I wanted.”

Thanks for her hard work and connections to SAC, Carrizo will be getting the chance to live out that dream this summer as a software engineer intern at Microsoft Corporation. She joins fellow CIS student Jose Medina, who has accepted a similar summer internship working on global sales at IBM.

Carrizo says she is grateful that she discovered SAC and the CIS program, explaining that while she took a few coding and biomedical engineering classes in Argentina, she didn’t fully immerse herself into her studies until after she completed the au pair exchange program that brought her to Chicago.

“I was almost 27 years old when moved here. I did two years as an au pair and then changed to a student visa in 2019 when I started with St. Augustine,” she says. “I heard about St. Augustine from a friend of mine who was studying business. She enthusiastically recommended St. Augustine, and I’m so I am happy to be here.”

The sophomore, who lives in Chicago near SAC’s main campus, began the rigorous interview process with Microsoft late last summer—which included many rounds of phone calls and video meetings over the following months and a coding a problem-solving test.

“My last interview was November 9,” she adds. “They told me that I was going to hear from them in two to three weeks, but I got the offer two days after my interview.”

Medina’s path to St. Augustine came through his mother, who returned to school as an adult to study social work at SAC about seven years ago.

“When I was young, I would always mess with computers,” says Medina, a resident of Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood who graduated from the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy and took classes at a local community college before transferring into SAC. “Originally my major was going to be criminal justice, but I switched to computer science with a focus on networking.”

In addition to a BS in Computer Information Science when he graduates next summer, Medina will also earn an associates degree in criminal justice. He hopes to someday combine both specialties, possibly gaining insight into the cybersecurity field during his summer internship with the IBM Summit global sales training program.

“I’m going to learn about IBM’s products but right now, I’m learning about their Cloud, AI, animation, and how to do pitches and sales,” explains Medina, who began working with IBM through a co-op program offered at his high school and expects to be able to continue with the company after he graduates from SAC. “The Summit program lasts 15 months before you finish school. After you finish school, you go right into it.”

Like Carrizo, he truly enjoys the CIS program at St. Augustine.

“It’s a great school,” he says. “I love how the class sizes are very small. Once you go into your major, you start seeing the same people so it’s a pretty tight community.”

In addition to professors who are always willing to help, Carrizo says she appreciates a learning environment that nurtures her Latina and Latino culture—and now, through SAC, the opportunity to work for a global corporation that values the contributions of underrepresented groups.

“My family is really proud of what I’ve accomplished here and for what I’m going to be doing this summer with Microsoft,” she adds. “I’m a Latin woman who came to the United States as an immigrant, so the culture fits perfectly with mine. I’m very happy and excited to be there.”