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What our interns built this summer: Meet our 2021 intern class

June 28th, 2022
7 min read
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Every summer, we host a group of interns on our Design, Data, and Engineering teams, who work alongside full-time Asanas to do everything from contributing to highly visible feature launches to contributing to our app’s stability and reliability. There are so many exciting and impactful projects here at Asana that no one is relegated to meaningless work that will be thrown away at the end of the summer. Our interns collaborate closely with their teammates in working on projects that are core to their team’s roadmap.

Here are some highlights on what some of our amazing interns got to work on this summer and what they learned from the experience!

What our interns built this summer: Asana screenshot
What our interns built this summer: Asana screenshot

Sharon, Data Science Intern

Sharon was on the business data science team. Their main project was about user segmentation: the goal of the project was to define intuitive user segments for product, business and marketing uses by using machine learning models. Outside of the project, they also worked on analyzing experiment results, doing power calculations and helped build dashboards.

Bella, Product Design Intern

Bella was a Product Design Intern on the Design System team. The main project that they worked on throughout their internship was tackling toasts (the notifications that pop up on the bottom left corner) and toast stacking. Due to toasts not stacking intelligently, we’ve heard from a lot of customers and other Asanas about how intrusive and visually distracting toasts are to their work and how they limit navigation by cluttering the entire sidebar. To solve this problem, Bella iterated and user tested on potential solutions before coming to a final proposal that significantly reduces their stacking while maintaining the clarity that toasts provide for users about their work. Towards the end of their internship, they also worked with the mobile team to design and reintroduce a way for users to move tasks between sections in ”My Tasks.”

Miasya, Product Security Intern

Miasya was on the Product Security team this summer. Product Security’s mission is to reduce the risk of security flaws in Asana’s product. They had the opportunity to take on team responsibilities that kept user and customer data safe, such as investigating and remediating bug bounty reports, building and advising on access control systems, and consulting with other engineers to design products free from web vulnerabilities.

Miasya’s internship was a mix of experienced-based learning and practical implementation. They developed security fundamentals hands-on by understanding and prioritizing fixes different suites of web application vulnerabilities including CSRF, XSS, OAuth, and more. They also had the chance to propose changes to our data object model, loop in stakeholders, and create secure code. Overall, Miasya was able to contribute to impactful projects and collaborate with their team to advance Asana’s security posture.

Chris, Multi-Cluster Scaling Intern

Chris worked on making the User Operations console work between multiple data clusters. User Operations are tools that allow for customers to easily modify and explore their Asana data. They worked with Javascript and Typescript and employed the use of the gRPC framework.

Maegan, LunaDb Infra Intern

Maegan worked on LunaDb Infra, which is the team responsible for the reactive data loading of the Asana web app. This summer, they were involved with the LunaDb Re-Architecture which involves splitting the existing Sync Server to separate machines. Maegan hashed syncables to maintain the existing functionality while minimizing the overhead that communication across multiple machines entails. They also helped with various tasks on the team like migrating clients to direct projection server routing and adding new performance events to be emitted.

What is it like to work at Asana?

Here at Asana, we take pride in the culture we build and maintain. We treat culture like a product and every Asana takes part in contributing to it. It is very important to us that interns get a holistic view of what it’s like to work at Asana and a big part of that is engaging with our company culture. Here’s what our interns had to say about their experiences with Asana culture:

“It’s a great experience. The culture is fantastic—everyone is extremely collaborative and works with the common goal of improving everyone’s experiences. The work being done is also incredibly high-quality and I can tell people are always learning from each other to grow. There’s also a general sense of excitement in team (and company) meetings that continuously motivates you to learn and really makes you feel like a part of a larger community at Asana.” -Amanda

“Asana is a fast growing company but at the same time everyone here works at their own pace. There are no signs of competitiveness within the company and we all treat each other with the same respect. Each person I’ve met has been super chill and genuinely enjoys working with each other.” -Jenny

“Working at Asana was the best experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend my summer. It’s so obvious that Asana takes its culture very seriously, and you can tell in the way they interview and hire and emphasize their values. I genuinely really liked everyone I worked with, which is crazy to me because I worked with a lot of people and I think its because of Asana’s great culture. I also love how impactful I felt working at Asana. I got to work on a feature that some of our biggest customers were really looking forward to and that was an awesome experience. I also felt like the rest of my team was energized during work because their work was also very impactful.” -Jenny

“At Asana I feel like I was really a part of the company, even as an intern. The culture here is a wonderful learning opportunity as everyone is so willing to help out and just the right amount of challenge is present to be able to grow.” -Emmie

“It is for a reason that Asana is known for great culture. I felt included by the teams I worked on and my colleagues were extremely friendly and fun to talk to! The work is quite fast paced which I found exciting. Also, working at Asana feels very collaborative. When I presented my results to various stakeholders, there was so much input from everyone and lots of brainstorming, which I loved!” -Prerana

“Working at Asana is wonderful because it’s working on a product that genuinely helps countless people (including yourself), and you’re working alongside kind, intelligent, and funny people who are genuinely interested in helping you grow as a person and engineer.” -Camila

What does mentorship look like at Asana?

Every intern is assigned a dedicated mentor during their time here. The mentor acts a teammate, coach, advocate, and resource for their intern — whatever is needed for them to be successful! The mentor is responsible for coaching their intern through any challenges during their internship as well as connecting them to interesting growth and learning opportunities. In addition to their dedicated mentor, interns often work closely with the rest of their team and org, creating tons of opportunities for impromptu mentorship. Here is what some of our summer interns took away from the experience:

“To me, mentorship at Asana was a lot like the old adage ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’. When I had technical questions, instead of telling me the answer outright, my mentor often took the time to empower me to be able to devise a solution on my own. I think as a result of this I was able to grow my soft skills more than I would have been able to otherwise.” -Dean

“My mentor was always there for me if I ever ran into problems or had questions about different parts of the company. At the same time, though, I never felt like he was too hands-on and holding my hand through the process but more like I was treated equally as a full-time engineer. As a result, I was able to learn a ton not only about software development but also cross-functional collaboration with other stakeholders in product, design, and business.” -Jerry

“I found mentorship at Asana to be a great balance of knowing when to give me autonomy in work, but also being able to give me support when I need it. I loved being able to build relationships with my mentors and having a comfortable space to give/receive feedback.” -Caroline

“Mentorship at Asana looks like support but not over-management. My mentor was always there for me when I needed help, and directed me towards lots of other resources for finding help at Asana. I really enjoyed how she helped me throughout my internship while letting me explore for myself, giving me more independence as I grew as an engineer over time.” -Drew

“The mentorship provided at Asana is one of the main highlights of my internship. There was a great balance of guidance and ownership/creative freedom of my projects and I felt very supported and encouraged by my mentor and teammates. I think the best way I can describe the sense of ongoing collaboration in the work culture is with an example: One day after a meeting in the office, another data scientist in the room asked me about the project I was working on. It turns out he was working on something similar, and we ended up discussing our methodology for about an hour. I came away from this conversation with much better clarity about my model, and more ideas on how to iterate on it! There were many such occasions like this, and I have learned so much in the past 12 weeks directly from my peers.” -Minori

“My mentor has been very supportive and caring throughout my internship. Every time I had a question, he’d always be open and eager to answer them. My mentor has also pushed me to take on bigger tasks and projects for me to gain more experience and knowledge in different areas which made me feel like I was completing impactful work for Asana. He’s also very considerate of what I’d want to get out of the internship. For example, I expressed interest in data science at the beginning of my internship and my mentor helped me set up meetings with many data scientists at Asana that I could learn from and shadow.” -Sarah

“From my experience, mentorship at Asana goes well beyond technical mentorship; as someone who has been grappling with personal themes like finding one’s passion and maintaining relationships, my mentor was the fresh perspective I needed and the listener I had been looking for. Casual conversations aside, I was constantly impressed by how much attention and effort my mentor put into shaping my experience at Asana into exactly what I was looking for.” -Janet

Our interns always impress with their contributions and this past summer was no exception! If the prospect of working on meaningful projects that deliver real customer value all while learning and growing a ton is exciting to you, keep an eye on our careers page as we open up more positions for next year!

What our interns built this summer: Asana screenshot

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