Chegg sponsors student hackathon PennApps

Student hackathons at colleges and universities are all the rage now and the fall season was recently kicked off at University of Pennsylvania with their PennApps hackathon over the September 6 – 8 weekend. Chegg was excited to be part of the action by being a sponsor at PennApps! Being one of the largest university hackathons, more than 1,000 students globally came to spend 48 hours coming up with innovative ideas, vying for prizes, networking with other students and companies, and trying to get by with as little sleep as possible.

Chegg was well represented with employees from Engineering and Recruiting to help mentor students with technology questions and internship and job search questions. We were also represented with hackers, having 3 of our summer interns, Max from U Penn, Matt from Miami University, and Blaise from Johns Hopkins University, all hacking! Another Chegg engineering intern, Geoff from U Penn, helped organize the whole event!

As a sponsor, Chegg presented an award to the student team who built the best hack that made students lives’ better. Over 125 teams submitted to be considered for Chegg’s prize! Out of the many awesome submissions, we chose the hack from team ReviewWith.us who built a product allowing students to collaborate with people taking the same class to create a study guide with various levels of student engagement. This team won a cash prize and a free semester of Homework Help from Chegg. Well done team!

There were a variety of other prizes and Chegg is proud of our intern Max who made it into the top twenty finalists with his project, Juke. Congratulations, Max!

All in all, we were really impressed with the level of talent and dedication these students had throughout the whole weekend and look forward to being part of many other hackathons in the future!

A shot of all the student teams demoing their hacks to companies and judges

A shot of all the student teams demoing their hacks to companies and judges

Chegg Engineering Director, Jason, learning about the ReviewWith.Us  hack – the winner of Chegg’s sponsored prize

Chegg Engineering Director, Jason, learning about the ReviewWith.Us
hack – the winner of Chegg’s sponsored prize

Chegg Intern, Max, presenting his hack, Juke

Chegg Intern, Max, presenting his hack, Juke

Chegg intern Matt being discovered in the hallway by Director of Talent Acquisition, Amy and Engineering Director, Jason

Chegg intern Matt being discovered in the hallway by Director of Talent Acquisition, Amy and Engineering Director, Jason

Chegg’s eTextbook Team Conducts Diary Study with College Students

Last week the Chegg eTextbook team kicked off an interesting new project at San Jose State University. In conjunction with SJSU Professor Anne Lawrence and her Business and Society class (BUS3 166)  the eTextbook team will analyze student’s eTextbook usage and study habits throughout the 14-week semester. This kind of long term study is often referred to as a “Diary Study”.

Chegg-eTextbook-team-SJSUChegg eTextbook Team Members visiting the SJSU Campus:  (from left) Colin Murphy, Haley Nguyen, Shannyn Timrott, Kaari Peterson

 

During the study, students are required to submit feedback weekly and answer survey questions based on their experience using the Chegg eTextbook with the Business and Society textbook content. This survey/diary information will be shared with the eTextbook Team. The Team will then make adjustments and improvements to the Chegg eTextbook user experience and product design based on the Student’s feedback.

“This is the first time that Chegg has done a diary study like this so we’re excited! It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to make the Chegg eTextbook design something that really meets the needs of students. At Chegg we say that we “put students first” and this diary study is a shining example of that philosophy.”  — Colin Murphy, Chegg Product Leader

Meet our Summer Interns: Part 5

Chegg introduced our summer interns over a month ago and has been showcasing who our interns are for the past month.

In this post you’ll meet the last 5 of our 24 interns: Marketing & Social Media Intern Jess Halter from Colgate University, Engineering Intern Omosola Odetunde from Stanford University, Engineering Intern Nivedh Mudaliar from University of California Santa Barbara, Email Marketing Intern MacKenzie Adamis from Chico State University, and Marketing & Consumer Insights Intern Lizzie Weisman from Harvard University. Enjoy!

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We have a wide variety of majors here – how did each of you choose your majors?

Omosola: I just graduated with my undergrad degree in Computer Science from Stanford, and will be receiving my graduate degree in Computer Science in 2014. Stanford has a special program where you can start working on your Masters while working on your Bachelors, so that’s what I did. I think the first time I was really interested in Computer Science was when my parents got me into educational games on the computer when I was a child. I became really passionate about it, and still am. I thought it was really cool that you can make something that was so much fun and I wanted to make my own games. I was able to take a Computer Science class for the first time during my sophomore year in high school and it was just as fun as I thought it would be.  I always was really goo at logic stuff and it worked really well for me there too. So basically it was fun, I was good at it, I liked what I did so I never stopped. 

Jess: I just graduated from Colgate University with a degree in Behavioral NeuroScience. I picked that because liked to learn how people’s brains function and how the external world impacts how we think which impacts how we behave. It’s a whole cycle that never stops changing and everything around you always impacts how you behave and your personality, which is really fascinating to me.

Nivedh: I took AP Computer Science in High School because I needed an extra class my senior year, and it turned out to be a fairly easy class for me. People said it was a great career path. In college, I ended up doing really well in the classes and really liked them so it was a good fit for my major.

Lizzie: I originally started out with a concentration of Human Evolutionary Biology but I took an intro to Psychology and really enjoyed it. It turns out I like tying to understand why people do the things they do and think the way they think so I picked up Psychology for my major.

MacKenzie: I’m majoring in Communications with a focus on Organization with a minor in Business with a focus on Project Management. I went from PR and Project Management to feel each of those areas out but I feel like Project Management has more variety to it and more of a business focus.

Why did you choose Chegg for your internship?

Lizzie: I knew I wanted to do marketing this summer and get a good amount of experience in that field. Chegg interested me specifically because it’s all about education and the student, which is really appealing for me. Last summer I was in Tanzia teaching in a school and this summer it’s good to be in another area focusing on education still.

Omosola: I’m working through the KPCB Fellowship Program and Chegg was one of the portfolio companies within that program. I’m really interested in education and software as an intersection so it seemed like a good match. Out of all the companies and people I interviewed with, Chegg seemed to be the most enjoyable, nice and seemed to care about what I could work on so I felt it was going to be a really good culture fit.

Nivedh: It was really about the impact I could make. I didn’t want to be a small fish in a big pond. Plus, I get to work on a product that I (and my peers) use on a daily basis. Since I’m on the front-end engineering team, it is entirely possible for me to look at Chegg at the end of the summer and point out something I worked on.

What is the main thing you want to get out of your internship?

MacKenzie: To get more real world experience since there is only so much you can do in a classroom; to really apply what I’ve learned in school will be really great. Plus, I want to meet people, learn what they do and how they work together to make this company successful.

Nivedh: I want to make a permanent impact on the front-end team. I think the product I’m working on is something really useful to students so it’s exciting to me to make an impact on something that helps students.

Jess: To learn as much as I can! I want to have a lot of fun while picking up a lot of marketable skills and experience that will help me find a full time job in this area.

Omosola: Learning about new technologies is pretty much what I came to do. I’ll do anything as long as I can learn about new things I haven’t learned about before. Then I get to do cool things and try out something new.

Has anything surprised you so far about working here?

Jess: I can wear my chacos to work! The people here are really nice and welcoming. You hear a lot of jokes about being an intern, so it’s hard to think I’m really an intern when I truly part of a team and not treated in a demeaning way. I sit next to awesome people and am learning a lot. I’m also surprised at how it’s all arranged here – it is really an open and collaborative workspace.

Nivedh: I’ve been surprised about how helpful people are. I thought that engineers would be so busy and wouldn’t have time to help out the new intern, but all the engineers have been really helpful with anything I need.

Lizzie: The people are so welcoming and they really want to get to know you and talk with you! It seems like a good community here. Plus, all the interns are really close which is fun.

Why do you think internships are important for college students?

Omosola: It’s really important, especially if you plan on doing full time work after school, to get experience outside the classroom because it’s completely different. There are so many things being a computer scientist, or a software developer, in the industry that you just don’t get out of school, no matter how much your school may try to prepare you for it. Having to work with a large code base, working with legacy code, having to maintain code – these are all things you don’t get at school. It’s also important to figure out what works best for you. Things work differently for people and all through my internships I’ve always tried to test out different kinds of job opportunities, at small and large companies, doing research, straight software development, and even user experience and marketing. It’s good to try a lot and rule out the things that don’t work for you. It makes things clearer for what you want to do as a full time role.

Nivedh: It helps give you work experience. Employers may not really care what your GPA was in school, but they will care about the work experience you have, so getting experience before you graduate gives you a huge edge over other people.

Jess: They give you a taste on what you will possibly want to do and help you translate what you’ve learned in school into actual experience in the real world.

Since we are an education company, focused on learning – are any of you learning anything new these days?

MacKenzie: I’m learning a lot from my family right now. Right before I came here, I worked at my dad’s business and that helped me get exposure to accounting and some other programs. I’m learning new life skills right now, which is good

Lizzie: I am learning a lot about myself since I was elected captain of my soccer team at school last year so I had to learn to be a leader to the freshman and younger players on the team and that’s been a big growing experience from me.

Nivedh: I’m learning android application development on my own time and on the weekends I’m trying to build some applications on my own. It’s going pretty well so far. 

What advice do you have for other college students looking for an internship?

Omosola: Don’t automatically assume that the ones everyone talks about are the best ones for you. A lot of the time, it is easy to get caught up with the possibility of going to an internship at some of the larger, well known brand name companies, and they may not be the best ones for you. You want to be careful you don’t miss out on great opportunities while you wait for one of those larger bigger brand opportunities to happen. Be open to finding out about the lesser-known opportunities.

MacKenzie: Start early and definitely see if there are any clubs on campus in the area in which you’re interested because you will hear about opportunities through them as well as meet people who were interested in the same things you were. It’s good to look at local opportunities so you have the chance to do an internship while in school, but you shouldn’t be afraid to cast a wide net as well and put yourself out there.

Jess: I used my school as a big resource and that was pretty powerful.  So it’s a great network to tap into, but you have to do a lot of work and take action to get out there and network with people and companies.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experience so far at Chegg?

Nivedh: Everyone is pretty passionate about what they’re doing. It is really easy to get excited about this field and the people here show that if you love what you do, it’s easy to do your job well and have fun.

Omosola: So far everyone is nice and friendly and laid back. There are a lot of activities for the interns. I’ve been able to bond with a lot of my office mates and it’s been really cool.

MacKenzie: It’s very welcoming and friendly – from when you first walk in. It’s a relaxed and flexible atmosphere where people seem to really want to do work here.

Jess: I’m just really excited because this is my first job where I sit at a desk all day so it’s pretty exciting for me. It’s been cool and everyone has been teaching me a lot; I’m excited to be part of an actual team that values what I’ve been doing.

Lizzie: The environment is really hip, welcoming and fun!

Meet our Summer Interns: Part 4

Chegg introduced our 24 summer interns last month and we’ve been using posts this month to showcase who they are and why they are excited to be here at Chegg.

In this post you’ll meet Engineering QA Intern Jordan Varney from Harvey Mudd College, Content Intern Jessica Leslie from Colgate University, Marketing Intern Jen Rogers from Stanford University, Zinch Marketing Intern Jamie Ayon, headed to Princeton University this fall, and Data Engineering Intern Matt Herbst from Miami University. Enjoy!

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We have a wide variety of majors here – how did each of you choose your majors?

Matt: I’m technically in a dual program at Miami where I’ll graduate in 2014 with my Bachelors in Political Science and History and Masters in Computer Science. I’m big into politics and my dad teaches politics so that’s how I got into that. History is for fun since I love history. I worked in Congress for 7 months, which was a great experience but it taught me that it wasn’t really what I wanted to do so I refocused with Computer Science. I originally thought about a triple major, but my professors told me that was dumb and I should go get a Masters. I had taken a few Comp Sci classes and had been programming on my own for a while; I’ve always been a big gamer, so this made sense to me.

Jen: I’m studying Science, Technology and Society. This is a major unique to Stanford and my focus is on work organizations and technology. Within that, my concentration is Management Science and Engineering. Since it’s interdisciplinary, I get to take classes in other areas like Sociology, History, and Psychology, so it becomes much richer academic program for me.

Jessica: I just graduated from Colgate where I majored in Peace and Conflict Studies. I was trying out a lot of different things, like Sociology and Geography and then I took an introductory course in my major and loved it. It’s very inter-disciplinary and gives exposure to so many different fields.

Jordan: Computer Science was something I knew I could do for 15 hours straight and enjoy it. Back in high school I took a Comp Sci class and did that. Back in high school a lot of my friends and I were into Computer Science and once I chose Harvey Mudd I knew that I’d be able to have an active social life and be part of a robust program.

Jamie: I’m not quite sure yet what my major will be at Princeton. I know I like Marketing and I’m interested Music Business. I took a few classes and have been talking with managers of small local bands to find out more about their roles. I’m learning that it has a lot do with “human marketing’ which sounds a little morbid, but it’s about marketing your product. I do enjoy music and would like to be involved in the entertainment industry on the business or marketing side, so that will probably help me find my major.

Why did you choose Chegg for your internship?

Matt: I really wanted to come out west and do something technical so Chegg fit that bill. Also, I connect a lot with what Chegg is all about. I’m an RA at school and I liked that I could relate to Chegg’s mission.  Also, with the size of Chegg, I felt that there was a decent chance I’d have a lot of access to people.

Jordan: Harvey Mudd is the school that won the Taylor Swift competition so I learned about it from that. Then over winter break I visited the company, and it seemed like such a fun place. I like that Chegg is helping people my age and I already see that there are people from various departments asking me for my opinion on things so I feel like I can be helpful to Chegg in more than only one way.

Jamie: My high school had a “career incubator” and some Chegg employees came to talk about their roles in marketing a couple years ago. Then the next year, I came to Chegg on a Job Shadow day where I shadowed HR and Recruiting. These programs really helped me understand more about Chegg and I really liked everything that was going on and the people who worked here.

Jessica: I wanted to get experience in a business that has a socially conscious side to it and the way that Chegg helps students really appealed to me.

What is the main thing you want to get out of your internship?

Jordan: I want to learn as much as I can. I know I’m helping Chegg a little with the work that I’m doing, but also I’m learning a ton from my boss and team just by seeing what they do. So I’m hoping to leave here knowing more about Computer Science and the industry.

Jamie: Going into college, I want to get a better feel for marketing, what it entails and see how a business is run. I’m enjoying it so far so I think I’m headed in the right direction. Also having just graduated high school and being dedicated to school, I’ve always heard people say that education and your major leads you to your career. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case any longer since there are Art majors becoming doctors for example. Now I feel that your major doesn’t determine who you are, so I wanted to get some knowledge of what the workspace is like since that’s not something you can learn in a classroom.

Matt: To see how an enterprise environment works for Computer Science. Last year, I worked at an office with 12 people so this is totally different. The office is so different so it’s giving me a different feel for what I may want to do. Also, because I’m a little late to the game with Computer Science, in my classes I feel that conceptually I understand the topics as well as the other students, but I’m a bit behind with my programming experience, so real world programming experience will help me get caught up.

Has anything surprised you so far about working here?

Jen: I had heard a lot about Chegg but I didn’t know how open the culture was. I had done freelancing and consulting before and it’s totally a different environment. Also – everyone is so willing to teach you. I was worried at first to go up to employees and ask questions, but people are really welcoming. Plus, the gym and all the fun things in the building really surprised me.

Jordan: I didn’t really know too much about everything that Chegg For Good did. I helped plan the recent Techbridge STEM Field Trip for middle school girls which was so much fun. I kind of wish I was an intern for Chegg For Good!

Why do you think internships are important for college students?

Jen: They give you such a sense on what to expect in the real world. I was blessed to grow up in Silicon Valley with so many great companies in my back yard, and it’s so great for students since there are so many possibilities out here. Plus the experience can give you so much more confidence.

Matt: The connections are important, but it’s good to know if this is what you want to do. If I graduated and went into politics without having that internship experience to help me realize that I didn’t want to do that, it would have been really hard.

Jordan: To help you grow and learn. My Computer Science classes can only teach me so much and this allows me to see what actual professionals do in a tech company.

Since we are an education company, focused on learning – are any of you learning anything new these days?

Jessica: I just moved to San Francisco, so I’m learning public transportation around a new city. I’m also trying to listen to my French tapes more. I used them a lot when I studied abroad in Morocco and am trying to get back into them.

Jen: I’m getting my pilots license. I’ve always wanted to do it so after 3 years of talking about it I decided to commit. I’ve got 40 hours with my instructor and after that’s doubled, I can solo and fly on my own. It may be terrifying to those who see me drive, but it’s the most exciting thing right now.

Jamie: I’m trying to learn Korean so I’m teaching myself Hangul, which is the Korean alphabet. I became interested in Korean learning about Korean Pop as a music genre. I liked the beat but didn’t know what they were saying so I got into the characters and from there, the alphabet.

What advice do you have for other college students looking for an internship?

Jessica: Don’t limit yourself. Try new things, even if it’s in a different industry than what you think you “should” do with regards to your major.

Matt: Keep a good network and online presence.

Jen: Use your network – not to see what they can do for you, but to see what they know. People know of a lot of companies and opportunities that you may not so it’s great to get out there and find out as much as you can.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experience so far at Chegg?

Jordan: Even in days that I’m tired, all my coworkers make me smile. The people here are fun and hilarious.

Jamie: I really like it here; the layout is very inviting and open, which encourages communication and interaction between departments. Plus, everyone is very welcoming to the interns and the company All Hands felt like a pep rally!

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Meet our Summer Interns: Part 3

Chegg introduced our 24 summer interns last month and now we’ve been using posts this month to showcase who these interns are and why they are excited to be here at Chegg.

In this post you’ll meet Design Intern Jen Wibowo from Rhode Island School of Design, Human Resource Intern Chelsea Brown from Cal State Long Beach, Engineering Intern Max Scheiber from University of Pennsylvania, Marketing Design Intern Yun Chi from Wellesley College, and Engineering Intern David “Blaise” Watson from Johns Hopkins University. Enjoy!

IMG_5118We have a wide variety of majors here – how did each of you choose your majors?

Chelsea: I major in Communications with a minor in Human Resources. Being in the restaurant business for three years, I realized how much I love interacting with people. I enjoy my Communications classes as much as my HR classes because both programs give me a lot of opportunities to interact with different groups of people and different audiences.

Yun: My major was a combination between Computer Science and Art, which was more like design for technology. I thought I wanted to go full force into Computer Science but realized I liked the design side of it more. I do like coding, but I’d rather tell engineering what I want and have them build it with me designing it.

Max: I’m studying Computer Science, Finance and Statistics. I’m actually studying a dual degree program called the Management and Technology Program, which is basically design for entrepreneurship. I’ve always liked programming, so Computer Science was a no brainer to me. I took a class on a whim in high school and just knew that it was really what I liked to do. Finance and Stats seem like very useful things to learn that are easily transferrable and are also inherently interesting.

Blaise: I’m also studying Computer Science; for me, it was just that I love solving problems so it seemed like a logical thing for me.

Jen: My major there is Industrial Design – which is more like Product Design. When I went to RISD, art school wasn’t exactly my first choice – but it’s a great school. I went there with a strong interest in biology and sciences. Industrial Design is a really interactive and collaborative field, so I could interact with doctors or engineers and scientists, which I really liked so that’s how I got into that focus.

Why did you choose Chegg for your internship?

Yun I heard about Chegg and this internship opportunity from Chegg’s VP HR who attended Wellesley. She sent out a message and posting to the school which caught my eye. Plus, coming from a tech background, I had recently heard of Chegg and everything they were doing so it made sense for me to look deeper.

Jen: A lot of my friends have used Chegg and know the brand. I originally heard of Chegg through a friend and looking into it, I came across the posting for the design internship. When I choosing my internship, I gravitated here because of my interest in education. I teach children social skills through the arts and have been really interested in how technology plays a part in education, so Chegg was especially interesting to me because of those things and seeing how Chegg has evolved from being a textbook rental company into more something that encompasses the entire student experience.

Blaise: Everyone uses Chegg at school, particularly for homework solution. I heard about the internship program when I applied through the Kleiner Perkins Engineering Fellowship Program and was introduced to Chegg as one of their portfolio companies.  This just seemed like a place that I’d really like to work. First of all, out of all the interactions I had with companies while interviewing, Chegg was by far the best with HR and engineering being so cool and super nice. A lot of companies made it feel like they were doing me a favor by talking with them, but Chegg was just so much more authentic with their conversations. I also really like what Chegg is doing. I use it all the time so if I can learn how to make it a little better for other students, that would be awesome.

What is the main thing you want to get out of your internship?

Max: First of all, seeing that I study both Computer Science and Business, I want to see what the right path for me may be to continue pursuing. This summer will be great to see how it is being a programmer in the real world and if it’s something I can see myself doing for a few years. I worked at a hedge fund last summer, which was the finance route. This summer is the opposite.

More intrinsically than that, I’ve always ben interested in education. I’ve been a teaching assistant ever since going to college and Chegg’s mission coincides with my mission on that front.

Chelsea: Broadly, my goal is to learn what it’s like to work in corporate life like. On a more narrow scale, it’s to learn what does HR do on a day-to-day basis. There’s a lot that goes into the people programs of the company, which I didn’t realize.

Jen: I’m excited to learn about how UX is done at a company in the real world, interacting with other groups. Seeing how UX is done with boundaries and a set amount of tools, style guides and color guides. Ultimately, I’d hope to move Chegg forward in a way that moves education forward.

Has anything surprised you so far about working here?

Blaise: Definitely how trusting you are with the interns. I’m on a team with 4 interns and they give us a lot of ownership and allow us to figure out how to do things. I certainly didn’t expect that from a big company.

Yun: I’m surprised how much work I’ve been given so far. Also, it feels like the teams here are fairly small so it surprises me how many big things a small team can accomplish. It feels like we should be bigger than we are given everything that has been accomplished.

Chelsea: I didn’t think it would be this casual and laid back. The culture is laid back and friendly, not stuffy like I thought a corporate role would be. It’s been really fun – people are playing golf and having a lot of fun. It’s very comfortable.

Max: I was surprised at the golf green! I’m a golfer and will golf a few minutes each morning since it’s a nice way to relax. I’m also surprised at how welcoming and collaborative everyone is. There are some senior programmers who I can just roll on over to and ask them something who are really happy to help out the newbie.

Since we are an education company, focused on learning – are any of you learning anything new these days?

Max: I’m learning how to go with the flow and being happy when I can.  I’m very type A and “go-get-em” with my personality and I’ve been learning this past year to chill a little and have a well-balanced life.

Blaise: I’m learning so much here – a bunch of new technologies that I haven’t used. I’m learning that from the other engineering interns. Outside of work, just getting to know the area.

Jen: I’m teaching myself how to code through Code Academy.

What advice do you have for other college students looking for an internship?

Yun: It helps to have a focus and know what you want to do. Also don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to people about opportunities.

Chelsea: Get out there and network with everyone! I use my sorority a lot for networking for many different things in life.

Max: Apply anywhere – big companies and small – along with VC firms to find out more about their portfolio companies, like I did. Even if you don’t think you’re the strongest candidate, the more interviews you have is the more practice you’ll get. Interviews can be a scary beast, so practice is key. Also, for computer science students – try and program as much as you can. I did three hackathons last year which really helped my skills.

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