Taking Notes: Sandbox Academy Weeks 1 & 2

Editor's Note: Sandbox Academy helps students level up through hands-on life skills workshops, mentoring sessions with top-notch leaders from various industries, and the chance to meet Tech Square folks through small-scale community events. This blog series will chronicle one student's journey through this summer's session. Here's Mika Munch and her experience.

Week 1

The Summer 2017 Cohort of Sandbox Academy kicked off Monday, June 5. With 30 interns, representing a handful of companies and labs around Tech Square, including Springboard Benefits, Cyrano Systems, ATDC, SQ5, Siemens, Keysight, Stackfolio, and TechSquare Labs to name a few, we dove into an enriching session on advice for the workplace.

As a warm up, we started off with the Tech Square Scavenger Hunt. Let’s see how well you would do:

  • Name a movie represented on the 12th floor of the Century Building elevator doors.
  • What headquarter building is going in north of SQ5?
  • How many Chihuly glass pieces are in the main atrium of the Scheller College of Business?
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Mentors Carrie Moore of Delta Airlines, Sam Martinez and Mario Suffren of Goodie Nation, Carl Bedingfield of the AT&T Foundry, Kaushik Santhanam of Keysight, and Trish Whitlock of the BridgeCommunity helped give advice on how to be the best part of the team we could be. We discussed questions round-robin style, such as “what does it take to be a great team member,” and, “how do you deal with difficult people, politics, & problems?” Although all of the interns work at different companies and in different disciplines, we were all able to gather gems from the session to apply to our jobs the next day.

Week 2

For the second week of Sandbox Academy, we headed over to ATDC for the Turning Your Talents in Strengths workshop run by Terri Kelly, a certified Gallup StrenghsFinder coach. All of us took the Gallup StrengthsFinder test in preparation, and she broke down the top 5 most common strengths of the entire group, which were Learner, Achiever, Input, Restorative, and Woo. Terri did an exercise where she made us write a sentence three times with our non-dominant hand. The nervous laughs and silence of us wondering, “is she serious?” filled the room as we attempted to complete the task. Then she made us write the same sentence three times with our dominant hand. Terri was making the point that our strengths come so naturally to us that we don’t consciously think about it. We may not even view them as strengths. She taught us the importance of identifying and capitalizing on our strong suits to maximize our potential in our everyday actions and contributions to a team.

We ended the second session to identify our goals with Ed Rieker, serial entrepreneur and adjunct faculty member at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Ed share how he discovered that the simple act of writing down goals sets you on the path of making them come true. He forced us to write down as many goals as we could in word-vomit fashion, encouraging us to write down anything that came to mind. The most someone came up with in the 5 minutes was 64. We then went through and categorized the entire list of goals by 1, 3, 5, and 10-year timeframes.

It was interesting to see that the way I had written mine down, they were pretty much in this order -- with immediately achievable goals first, and longer term goals, that I either am afraid of or don’t know where to start. At the end, he made us all promise to make some steps forward on our goals. Since then, I have made my own business cards, signed up to volunteer at an animal shelter, and researched how to get a motorcycle license in Georgia.