Former intern looks toward her future after finding a career with Maximus
For many college graduates, finding their first job can be a daunting task. Maximus' Summer Intern Program helps eliminate some of those stressors, as many soon-to-be college grads find internships at Maximus.
The purpose of the Maximus Intern Program is to connect students with teams to help refine their skills and put their schoolwork into use in actual situations.
Edda Pleitez, a former intern at Maximus who works as a reporting developer with the Texas Enrollment Broker project, explained how the program prepared her for the "real world" and landed her a permanent position on the project.
What is your role here at Maximus?
I'm a reporting developer in the Texas Enrollment Broker project, though I started out as a business analyst. We enroll people in the state's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid once they're eligible.
What was it like to be an intern at Maximus?
I interned for the Texas Enrollment Broker Project, doing primarily legislative analysis. Texas has such a short legislative session, comparatively speaking. They meet every two years for five months – January to May. Because it's a really short timeframe, a lot of legislation comes out, and they push through as much as possible. That can result in a lot of changes really quickly. Typically, you have a year or two to implement the policy, but it could take a year and a half to implement it and meet the deadline. I spent 50% of my time on that project.
The other 50% was flexible, and I did other duties. I liked doing data analysis projects, and those were on an ad-hoc basis.
What was one of your favorite projects or tasks to work on as an intern?
I enjoyed figuring out how to leverage data from call center representatives. They took quizzes to stay updated on the skills needed for talking to customers on the phone. I had to figure out how to extract it and load the information into our database to have good data on what worked well for them and what we could improve on to help them maximize their capacity.
That was cool, and I enjoyed that they trusted me enough to let me work independently and gave me time to develop skills on my own.
What has it been like to work on the Texas Enrollment Broker Project?
I've learned so much on this project about what it looks like to implement policy. I knew what Medicaid and CHIP were, but I didn't realize that the state contracts with other agencies to implement the policy. I just realized how much data we have to manage and keep safe in addition to communications, working with other vendors, and managing other contracts.
As a business analyst, you have to learn intricate processes because if you’re put on a project to help with the file exchange, for example, you have to know how those file exchanges work and that every file is different and has its own rules. It’s been an outstanding learning experience to see how Maximus manages the policy implementation for a contract. I’ve been lucky that everyone’s been very patient, too, because learning everything takes so long.
We’ve heard you speak English, Spanish, and French. How has learning multiple languages helped you as an analyst?
My life has been full of learning new languages. Even programming languages became easier because I learned two languages as a child. I had to learn one programming language in undergrad courses. When I had to learn a second programming language in graduate school, it felt familiar because it was the same logic the other one used.
Now, as a business analyst, I’m learning how to do SQL, or structured query language. And I had to learn it entirely from scratch. I had no idea what it was, but it wasn’t a daunting experience because I already have experience in these other two programming languages.
And these language skills helped me land my new role. I wanted to move into a data or reporting role next, so I took on SQL because the reporting team uses it every day to look up data, write reports, and perform analysis.
I’m thinking I’ll tackle Python next once I’ve mastered SQL.
What has been the best part of your experience working at Maximus?
My previous experience with government in a professional setting had been working for agencies and delivering things like social policy in the education or nonprofit space. Working at Maximus has been the first time I've gotten to do these tasks in a corporate environment. I like that Maximus supports people who need government services, and I get to help with that.
There's a lot of responsibility to do our job well because people depend on the services we support. They're not customers to whom we sell products. The services we are implementing on behalf of the government are critical to the people who rely on them. It's humbling to think about that.
What's next for you? How are you looking to grow with Maximus?
I want to get to know the company more. Eventually, I'd like to hold a position where I can be more creative. I know that we have international contracts, and that's something that interests me a lot. I have a degree in global policy and enjoy international affairs. Eventually, I want to live internationally, so I'm interested in seeing what that could look like within Maximus. I would love to continue building my career here!