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2022 summer interns team up to improve accessibility at Pega

Summer internship project 2022: Interns team up to improve accessibility at Pega

Hailey Jennato, Log in to subscribe to the Blog

Every year, Pega interns have one week to complete a project in small, diverse groups. Teams then present their research, ideas, and recommendations to Pega project judges, executive leaders, managers, intern mentors, and more. The whole company is invited, and this year about 200 Pega employees attended the virtual presentations.

The project is a challenging task that allows interns to apply what they’ve learned in their internship so far, research a topic outside their field of study, and strengthen their communication and presentation skills. This year, the theme was Accessibility at Pega.

Creating an enablement strategy for PwD@Pega

As the newest Employee Resource Group (ERG), People with Disabilities at Pega asked the summer 2022 interns to create an enablement strategy that would help them generate awareness and keep accessibility top-of-mind for current and future employees. Interns were tasked with learning how to think and work inclusively, and how to share this information throughout the Pega community.

At the project kickoff meeting, interns heard from Paula Milton, Global Co-Chair of PwD@Pega, Prachi Soni, Global Inclusion and Diversity Program Manager, and Jill Power, Accessibility Program Manager, about the state of accessibility at Pega and the current challenges faced by the ERG.

During the last week of July, intern teams were hard at work brainstorming, researching, designing, and finalizing their projects, all while balancing their typical workloads. Teams included approximately ten interns from various backgrounds and locations. Teams also had the opportunity to meet with Project Coaches (Pega individuals with expertise in the field of DEI and accessibility) and receive feedback on their ideas.

“My favorite part of the intern group project was getting to work on a team that was passionate, hardworking, and incredibly supportive. In just a week my team, the kINTERNgarteners, were able to pull together an Autism Friendly Hiring Program project plan that could really change lives! Though we didn't end up winning, we did get a special mention and walked away proud of ourselves and all we were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.”

Juliana Porto Cloud Development Engineer Intern, Salem, NH

The solutions: Ideas to improve inclusivity and disability awareness

Pega hires the best and brightest upcoming talent for their internship program, and this year was no different. The seven intern teams each presented in-depth, cohesive, and innovative ideas for tackling accessibility at Pega and raising awareness of PwD@Pega.

Ideas included an alternative hiring program designed to help candidates with autism best display their skills, a chatbot for on-demand mental health support, a Pega Pals program where employees with disabilities get support from their peers, a year-long marketing campaign plan for PwD@Pega, and so many more. While every team approached the task differently, each project addressed this year’s topic in a unique and thoughtful way.

“My favorite part of the group project was getting to know and work with other interns outside of my team. Virtual working tends to have a narrow focus, and this project is certainly a fun and interactive way to get to know other people and other parts of the company. What’s especially great about it is that you’re able to expand your thinking to see how every department is different and needs to work together to create a successful idea.”

Jessica Sabatino Software Engineer Intern – Integration and Data Management, Cambridge, MA

After all the presentations, the project judges revisited slideshows and supporting documentation to pick a winning team. Congratulations to The Pega Minions and Lucky Sevens! Due to the strength of all the presentations, this was the first year the judges picked two winners. As the winners, PwD@Pega will implement parts of The Pega Minions’ and Lucky Sevens’ enablement strategies in the coming months, and the team members will also receive a special prize! The judges also awarded a special mention to the kINTERNgarteners.

summer intern image

Some examples of the fun posters Intern teams created as part of their summer experience.

Join us! We’re on a mission to connect, engage, and empower people. Visit Careers at Pega for a full listing of available opportunities around the globe, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor to learn more about#LifeAtPega.

Learn more

Pega received a perfect score of 100 on the 2022 Disability Equality Index®

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About the Author

Hailey Jennato is a marketer and content creator with a passion for telling stories in unique and creative ways, helping organizations better connect with their customers.