CA Workforce Initiative

NeuroDiversity in Tech (NDTech) Summer Internship

** Applications for the 2022 San Diego summer internship are now open and will close on April 10, 2022 Sunday 11:59 PM PST **

Don’t wait until the last minute, please apply early! The earlier you apply, the earlier we can schedule an interview with you. We are motivated to engage in this work as part of a larger effort to improve the unacceptably low employment numbers for neurodiverse young adults.

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Overview

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) affect 1 out of 59 individuals, cost $137 billion per year in the U.S., and result in a staggering unemployment rate for adults who have the cognitive skills to contribute substantially to the technology workforce.

Over the course of 8 weeks (June 21 through August 16), our interns work in teams as programmers, project managers, artists, and designers with the aid of a peer coach to develop an educational or research-based video game. They will develop their game from concept to production by fostering a stakeholder relationship with researchers. At the end of the program, interns present their achievements to the community, including industry partners and advocates, during a showcase event.

Our goal is to provide comprehensive workplace training in a supportive environment to enable individuals to thrive in tech occupations.

Details

Thanks to current funding from the State of California through QI and Calit2, we engage a group of 15 to 25 individuals who are underrepresented in the tech workforce–individuals with developmental disorders, specifically autism spectrum disorders. This includes those who are either preparing to enroll, are currently enrolled, have graduated from 2- to 4-year college or post-secondary training school, or are otherwise seeking employment.

The primary criteria for admission are:

  • A strong interest in video game design or development applied to educational or research settings.
  • A longstanding personal understanding of autism spectrum disorders or living with neurodiverse conditions.
  • Must be at least 18 years old, and have a high school diploma or equivalent/GED by the start of the internship (June 21st).
  • Availability to work in-person and commute to the University of California (UC) San Diego for the duration of the internship, spanning from Tuesday, June 21 to Tuesday, August 16.

We are interested in eager, motivated learners with a wide range of skills and abilities. Candidates will be selected based on qualifications and interest in the program.

Interns will be working half time (20 hours a week) over an eight week period (160 hours total), and will receive a stipend of $18.75 per hour for their engagement in the program ($3,000 total stipend).

Interns will be expected to:

  • Engage in their assigned role and their team to make a cool project.
  • Be willing to learn, communicate, and engage in constructive collaboration with their interdisciplinary team, their coach, other members of the internship, and their stakeholders.
  • Work in a professional environment for at least 20 hours a week (at least 4 hours for 5 days a week).
  • Attend and report during daily team meetings, biweekly stakeholder meetings, Lunch & Learn events, and a final showcase to demonstrate the culmination of their project work.
  • Participate as needed in project testing and quality assurance to ensure that features are working as intended according to the stakeholder specifications and design limitations.

Interns will gain:

  • Experience in project-based work, allowing teams to gain knowledge of standard tech workplace practices and procedures.
  • Productivity skills include time management, focused note-taking, and effective communication.
  • Strengthened technical skills and exposure to workplace etiquette and expectations.
  • Proficiency in constructing a resume and using network-building tools such as LinkedIn.
  • Specific skills and familiarity related to different aspects of video game design and development.

Roles and Responsibilities

Each development team includes two programmers, a project manager, an artist, and a designer. Each intern will learn to perform tasks to fulfill their designated role during the internship.

Programmer

  • Develop with Unity and the C# programming language
  • Use Git to compare and share code with other teammates
  • Write and document code that you can explain thoroughly to others with or without programming knowledge
  • Provide clear criteria and instructions to the group via GitHub on how the implemented features and mechanics should be tested

Artist/Sound Designer

  • Use graphic art software to create 2D/ 3D assets, and acquire graphics online for the game’s characters, background, UI, and objects
  • Import graphics into the project and review them with the designer and project manager
  • Sound Designer specifies, acquires, and creates auditory elements, like music and sound effects, using audio production techniques and tools
  • Ensure that the art/sound assets are added to the Unity project correctly

Designer

  • Communicate, document, and study the game’s design needs and best practices
  • Reflect the game’s intent, target audience, and the requirements into the game design
  • Work with the peer coach and project manager to adjust the game’s design based on stakeholder requirements and resource limitations
  • Collaborate with the rest of the group to confirm that the Unity project reflects the documented design decisions

Project Manager

  • Use project management tools, like Jira, to plan project deadlines in an agile development cycle
  • Oversee project quality and progress through communication and evaluation in order to meet deadlines
  • Report progress to the stakeholders at the biweekly meetings
  • Analyze the progress of the Unity project with respect to the team’s deadlines to decide on any changes to the team schedule or scope
  • Take the lead on testing and quality assurance for the project

Covid-19 Policy

Interns will be expected to abide by the applicable safety and public health rules at the time of the internship. Because of the changing nature of the pandemic, these rules might include university rules on wearing a mask or on undergoing regular testing for Covid.

The University of California requires all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they will be allowed on campus or in a facility or office. This includes completing initial vaccination doses as well as receiving a booster.

For more information, visit https://blink.ucsd.edu/safety/resources/public-health/covid-19/index.html

For any questions about the internship, please contact coh13@ucsd.edu or pcosman@eng.ucsd.edu

Not in the San Diego area?

This year the internship is also happening in Boston at Northeastern University! If you know people in the Boston area who might be interested, please refer them to further information at https://regamexr.sites.northeastern.edu/internship/

CHECK OUT INFORMATION ON PREVIOUS NEURODIVERSITY INTERNSHIPS!

2020 Internship | 2019 Internship | 2018 Internship