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Appian Internship Program: Simply Virtual

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The saying goes it takes a village, and truer words have never been spoken. Over the past eight years, the internship program has thrived in person, but with the current pandemic we had to reconsider our format. I am thrilled to share Appian’s internship program will be virtual this summer and has transformed with the same adaptability as our software.

My awesome team! Christina Grau, Juliet Wilson, Julia Ledwith (with me)


I started at Appian on April 8th, 2019 as a University Talent Acquisition Specialist, tasked to take on our internship program. I learned a lot about the internship program in my first year, and I was looking forward to putting my stamp on the program this summer. What I didn’t know going into 2020, was that this would mean transforming our entire program to a fully virtual experience.

I mentioned earlier on that our summer program adapted to change just as swiftly as our software. Let me give you a play by play so you can see what I mean.

On March 12th, our CEO, Matt Calkins, informed us that March 16th would be Appian’s first day emphasizing remote work to keep our employees, families, and overall communities safe. Shortly after this announcement we notified our interns about this transition, that we still planned to have our internship program, and that we were thinking of them as many were in the midst of transitioning to virtual classes.

On March 30th, Virginia issued a stay at home order until June 10th. Coincidentally, the same random Wednesday in June that would have kicked-off our internship program at our HQ in McLean, Virginia. Hours after the stay at home order went live, we reached out to all 37 interns and their future summer managers letting them know the internship is on, and we’re considering alternative formats for the safety of those involved.

Knowing we had to move quickly, my team brainstormed and outlined alternative format pros and cons that would allow us to preserve the foundational goals of our internship program:

  1. REAL WORK: You’ll be fully integrated alongside full-time Appianites
  2. MAKE AN IMPACT: You’ll do meaningful work that will have a lasting impact beyond the summer.
  3. HAVE FUN: Aside from the work, we love to get to know each other through fun activities.

On April 1st, we pitched our virtual strategy to leadership, and with their support and some great advice, we had the green light we needed to keep going. Communications were rolled out on April 10th to the interns with our plan to go virtual!

At Appian, company swag is a staple for our employees and interns are no exception!

Vintage Appian Intern Swag


On April 29th, all of our interns received mailed goodies to get them through finals. It’s been fun receiving messages such as this:

Thank YOU for choosing Appian!

This summer’s intern class will be Appian’s largest virtual orientation yet. Intern orientation will now be expanded from one day to two, and will include new training sessions such as a “Work From Home: 101” to equip interns with all the best practices Appianites have learned so far!

Below are a few additional things our interns can look forward to this Summer:

  • AppianRISE, one of our six affinity groups, which is focused on professional development, will host a virtual mentorship program.
  • Weekly touch-points with Summer Managers to share feedback and seek advice
  • A curated list of Appian employees to connect with so they can expand their network beyond their immediate team (get ready for a ton of fun Google Chat rooms like WFH Lunch Pics — yes, employees share their meals and recipes!)
  • Trendy tik tok challenges, virtual escape rooms, themed meet and greets… need I say more?

It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to lead an internship program. Thinking back to my own personal experience, I had incredible mentors from UVA’s Career Center who empowered me to navigate the world of work beyond college.

Thank you UVA Career Center!

With their guidance, I was inspired to apply the lessons I learned, and set on a career path to empower others starting their career. At Appian, I’ve been able to do just that. I feel so lucky to be a part of a Campus Recruiting team that focuses on a student first approach to our recruiting, programs, and beyond.

While this process has had its ups and downs, nothing has been more motivating to me than knowing this experience is going to have a positive impact on students’ lives, and that this opportunity could lead them to a full-time career doing what they love (hopefully at Appian!).

To my village at Appian: thank you all for your can-do spirit. To our summer interns: I hope you’re ready to be a part of something great!