Computer Science Internship Story: Tennessee Valley Authority


Lyndsey Rice

Computer Science & Software Engineering

What company did you intern with and where are they located?

I interned with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) remotely, but technically was based out of the office located in Chattanooga, TN, my hometown.

How did you identify and apply for your internship? Are there any specific resources you used to find the opportunity (i.e., Handshake, career fairs, other recruitment events)?  

Growing up in Chattanooga, I knew of many people who worked for TVA, which has a large presence in the city. I knew it would be a great experience to work in their IT division, so I applied through the online portal located on their website,

What was the application process like?

The application process was fairly standard: after applying online with my resume and basic educational information, I was contacted via email and phone several days later to schedule interviews with a couple of different teams in Innovation and Technology. The interviews were primarily situational in nature, but there were a few technical computer science questions thrown in, as well. A week or two after my final interview, I had another meeting with two managers who had interviewed me where they invited me to select which team I would like to work with for the summer. I was surprised to even be offered one position, let alone be able to choose between two! The choice was difficult, but I ended up deciding to intern with a software team, which I have stayed on with part-time this school year.

Tell us about your internship experience. What types of tasks and projects did you engage in? Was there a particular project or part of the experience you learned the most from?

Over the summer, I spent most of my time doing technical coursework online, which included lecture videos and online projects/labs. Additionally, I opted to join a summer intern project team, where we created a new event management software for TVA teams to use for scheduling purposes. Now that I have been with TVA for around 8 months, I am much more accustomed to the technologies they utilize, and I am in the process of getting several certifications for cloud computing, something I’ve learned since joining the company. I also had a mentor that I met with once a week during the summer months, and I learned a lot from her about working in technology and in the public sector.

In what ways did this internship help you prepare for your next destination after Auburn?

With my undergraduate graduation approaching next spring, May 2024, I am beginning to look at options after graduation. While I may do graduate school here, I could also see myself working for TVA or another company after I graduate. Having my first “real job” in software taught me so much about the inner workings of software developers and companies, especially in the public sector, so I feel confident that my TVA experience will help me wherever I end up going. Reflecting on the time I’ve spent being surrounded by full-time software developers the past several months, I am amazed at how much I have learned in such a short amount of time! TVA taught me that there is always more to learn!

In what ways did your coursework or other experiences at Auburn prepare you for your internships? Are there specific topics or skills you learned from classes that you put into practice on the job?

My coursework in data structures and programming strategies definitely helped me in securing my internship offer and even while observing/working on software in the company. Honestly, I think that the coursework I’ve done at TVA has prepared me for my Auburn classes more than the other way around, because I learn by doing active, hands-on work, which is what TVA has granted me the ability to do on a daily basis.

Do you have any advice for other students looking for internships like yours?

To all my CSSE peers…learn your data structures! That knowledge has been crucial in everything I’ve done so far on the job in unexpected ways. In searching for internships, it can be very discouraging to receive rejections, but remember that it only takes one offer for an incredible career to take off! Definitely ask the CDCR and other people you trust to look over any resumes and cover letters with you prior to applying, and take advantage of the mock interviews offered by CDCR.