Matt Taylor, a telecommunications and computer networking major at Southeast Missouri
State University, had an excellent opportunity this past summer to complete a prestigious
internship with Abbott Laboratories. A native of Cape Girardeau, Mo., Matt traveled
to Abbott Park, Ill., about 40 miles north of Chicago, to intern for this pharmaceutical
Last year, Matt says he was looking online for Information Technology (IT) internships and ran across Abbott’s Web site. He says he did not pay much attention at first, but thought he would look into it.
“With the help of the Career Linkages department, I was able to send my resume to the right person,” Matt said. “I received an e-mail a few days later and set up a phone interview. I was able to get the internship, I believe, with my strong leadership skills I developed in various activities on campus as well as through my Eagle Scout. Thanks to the IT department and Dr. Shuju Wu, I was well prepared for my internship with Abbott’s corporate IT division.”
Matt said more than 12,000 people applied for various Abbott internships, and around 325 were chosen for them. He was able to land one of the 25 spots in the IT field.
“This summer was amazing, and I can see why Abbott is one of the top Fortune 500 companies to work for,” Matt said.
Matt says he worked on many projects over the summer from “wireless ghostbusters” to Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) requests to helping with a new broadband card swap out.
“The wireless ghostbuster project was my favorite because I was able to go into more buildings than most of the other interns were allowed,” Matt said. “I had a device that searched for wireless access points, and my main concentration was rogue access points which are wireless routers people bring from home. This could allow outside sources onto the network, which isn’t secure. The new broadband cards are mainly used for the sales force that travels most of the time and need internet access at all times. However, their old cards were costing the company too much money. The new cards saved the company about $13,000.”
Matt says he learned a great deal of information that could have only been taught through the internship.
“We were able to have dinner with the chief executive officer of the company as well as executive vice presidents of many divisions,” Matt said. “One activity we were able to participate in was ‘Amazing Race: Chicago.’ We were split into teams and were taken to downtown Chicago on four charter buses where we had different clues that took us all over Chicago. It was awesome, and my team came in second place.”
Matt was not from the standard intern core institutions that Abbott recruits from, like the University of Notre Dame, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State, St. Mary’s University and other major schools around the area. Matt says he was the only one from Southeast.
At the end of the summer, he said all of the interns could apply for Abbott’s IT Professional Development Program (ITPDP). Around 15 of them were eligible, and Matt says he believes they only accepted seven. Matt was one of the lucky interns chosen for this position, which he will start when he graduates in May 2009.
Now back on campus this semester, Matt says he doesn’t have much free time because of his classes, his involvement in organizations, and running his own lawn care business, but he says he enjoys bike riding, the outdoors and traveling.
“Some of my favorite travel spots would be Hawaii, Mexico and Colorado,” Matt said. “Hawaii is awesome because the temperature is great, and the beaches are nice. I have to say watching the lava flow down the hill side is the greatest thing to watch. Colorado is great, too, because I like the outdoors, and the mountains are cool to see.”
Matt provides the following advice to students: “Get involved in activities around campus. Throughout my college career I have been in Alpha Phi Omega, Emerging Leaders, Photography Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Omicron Delta Kappa and Student Government. Within those organizations, I have held several executive positions that taught me great leadership skills and allowed me to work in different situations that helped me grow as a leader. Leadership is an important quality to have. Abbott has five competencies that I highly agree with. These are adaptability, initiative, integrity, innovation and teamwork. If you have the chance to do an internship, do it. You will not regret the decision. Once you start looking for a job after you graduate, you need experience, and this is a great opportunity for you to possibly find a future employer.”