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Spotlight on our fabulous TAG summer interns

Aug 13 '15
TAG awesome summer interns
Barcelona intern Claudia Zavala (left); San Francisco interns Pavel Kiryanov (middle) and Ian Lockaby-Cotter (right)

Most of us have been interns at some point in our lives, so we know the unique pain of entering an exciting work environment, rubbing elbows with people you admire, and being challenged, day after day, with...getting the office mochaccinos. Yes, the summer internship can be the modern-day equivalent of indentured servitude, delivering equal parts frustration and boredom to unsuspecting youngsters.

Well, here at TAG we’ve come up with a game-changing solution: get summer interns who are so smart, motivated and skilled that they can be tossed into any project and work alongside us from the very beginning. We heart these guys, big time. So in honor of the TAG summer intern, this week we’re turning the spotlight on them. Here are some of their answers to our burning questions.


Claudia Zavala

Where are you currently studying and what is your major?

Currently studying at Michigan State University, GO GREEN! I am majoring in Media and Information where my concentration is in Web Development.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

Right after I graduate, I want to travel around Japan and then land a job as a front-end developer at a small web development agency in the states.

What are you working on at TAG? Any project or task that you particularly like?

I am interning in the QA department in Barcelona. I do regression testing for many of our clients’ sites. I have to make sure that the functionality is working smoothly and properly before and after it has launched. I have also been able to perform SEO analyses, learn the ins and outs of WordPress, create local servers and backup databases. Overall, I believe I have gained a general knowledge of how a website is produced and each stage it goes through from beginning to end. I particularly liked being able to build a site that promotes and lets users sign up for workshops happening around Barcelona for this year’s DrupalCon convention. For that project, I used scripting languages to format it and I designed it in the way that I believed would best appeal to users.

What activities do you like doing? Any hobbies?

I love music and art. I enjoy watching my favorite bands live and when I am not busy with school, I like to play my guitar or swim some laps. I also enjoy playing video games or sketching in my down time. My passion lies in creating things, so whether it’s music I play or a piece that I have drawn, I like to see all of the components come together. That is why I like creating websites: because of the design and the functionality behind it.


Pavel Kiryanov

Where are you currently studying and what is your major?

Currently I am studying computer engineering. Upon entering college, I found it to be the most interesting subject to study, combining both the hardware and software aspects of computers. As for my future, I am going to switch to computer science and focus on what I’m truly skilled at.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

After I graduate I see myself going into a job and/or traveling. Luckily, TAG provided me with the opportunity to live out here in San Francisco, which was part of my wish for this summer: to explore and get to leave home for a while.

What are you working on at TAG? Any project or task that you particularly like?

Here at TAG I’ve helped to develop Drupal sites for a range of clients. I’ve grown a lot in terms of how I look at computer science as a discipline from this wide variety of projects that have come across my desk. Yet, I always have an attachment to the project I’m currently working on. I hate looking at past code and projects because every programmer always gets the itch that tells them they could have done a certain part better. But that’s a sign of improvement, which is wonderful.

What activities do you like doing? Any hobbies?

Programming - I truly enjoy working on my side projects with friends. Even if our work is small, it feels great to make something useful together.

Music/Audio - At home I play guitar/bass to unwind, and although I only ever performed once, casually learning music has helped keep me relaxed in lots of stressful times. I also have an appreciation for high quality audio that started when I bought a pair of AKG headphones for my bass amp to practice at night.

Watching Videos - Most of my time spent on the internet for fun consists of watching YouTube channels for technology or video games, or occasionally binge-watching anime. Or if there’s a really good show airing in Japan, I’ll watch it as it’s coming out. Hibike! Euphonium, from this spring season, was a wonderful show.

Video Games - I love playing video games. Some of my top titles would probably be Persona 4, Ace Attorney Series, and the Legend of Zelda series. Right now I’m playing Danganronpa on my PS Vita and it’s pretty great so far.

Building Computers - I also love tinkering with computers and building them. My first computers were built out of school trash and that was were I learned. Seeing hardware progress as I get older is super fascinating and interesting to learn about. It’s also sparked interest in things like fancier workspaces, like using mechanical keyboards.

Sleeping - This has to be one of my favorite activities. It’s the most relaxing part and best activity of my weekend.


Ian Lockaby-Cotter

Where are you currently studying and what is your major?

I studied for a year at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth working towards a Computer Engineering degree. However, I’ve since decided to continue with my own independent studies and I plan on continuing college elsewhere when I feel I am ready.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

Within the next few years, I plan on moving out and living permanently in/near the San Francisco area. Working at Third & Grove as an intern for the summer has convinced me that the San Francisco area is where to be if I want to continue my career in the world of technology. I don’t want to limit myself in what I work on in the future, be it working with hardware, software or web technologies. I’m open to anything that keeps me interested in the technology field.

What are you working on at TAG? Any project or task that you particularly like?

I’ve been doing testing on a range of sites. I’ve particularly liked working on and testing a content delivery site because it’s given me a chance to contribute somewhat. It’s an odd feeling to know that I’ve been able to work on a relatively large website like that one, even if my participation has been very small. Working virtually with other people across the United States and even across the world has also been an amazing experience.

What activities do you like doing? Any hobbies?

Technology is obviously a huge passion of mine. It’s been a part of my life ever since my parents introduced me to the old iMac G3 about 15 years ago. I’ve been fascinated ever since and I’ve taught myself everything I now know about computers, technology and science.

When I got my first personal computer in middle school, which I actually got from dumpster diving at my school, I set out trying to create something. I ended up making my first simple web browser in Visual Basic called ShadowCat. I was quite proud of it at the time. It even included some pre-set themes that I made, built-in Google maps, and many other features I thought were pretty neat.

Graphic work has also been a long-time interest of mine. For about two years I worked on a texture pack for Minecraft. A texture pack changes all of the graphical assets of a game and transforms how it looks. Mine was based off of the game The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It was a very cartoony texture pack, and it’s garnished over 300,000 downloads so far.

I also love building computers for friends, and ever since middle school I’ve “hackintoshed” all of my computers, installing Mac OSX onto non-Mac hardware. It’s not only an exciting challenge, but the end result gives me a more usable experience.

Anime and other Japanese culture is also a pretty large passion of mine. Every year I go to anime conventions with my friends and I cosplay. The community has been a pretty big part of my life, and I’ve met a lot of amazing people through conventions.


Contact us if you would like to apply for our summer internship program for next year

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