BTS Behind the Scenes is a chance to showcase the people who are making things happen at BTS and give you a “behind the scenes” look into their worlds. In this month’s feature we’ll talk with Consultant Intern Isai Hernandez and talk sports, proposal writing, gaining technical skills, and more.
You have a really interesting background… tell us about your education and career path so far.
I completed my undergraduate career at UC Davis in 2017. I double majored in Political Science and International Relations. After that, I did two AmeriCorps years. One with City Year San Antonio and the other with Notre Dame Mission Volunteers in Los Angeles where I was placed at a non-profit called the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) as an immigration legal assistant. After completing my AmeriCorps year there, I was hired as an official employee in the same role. I am now entering my second and final year at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy where I am finishing up my Master’s in International Affairs (International Politics track and Latin America focus area).
What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve learned interning at BTS so far?
The most interesting thing I’ve learned is the holistic effort it takes to win a government contract to filling the positions and roles. It can be a multi-year effort from the proposal to receiving the award for one contract. Therefore, doing it for multiple contracts is what has been interesting to me. Seeing the Business and Development team along with the Recruitment team balance deadlines, paperwork, and personalities is very impressive to me.
You’re also helping with some cyber and IT initiatives with the Maryland Tech Council as well… tell us about those.
I have been creating a list of non- and for-profits, academia, government programs, and online courses that teach and train people in IT and cyber skills that are currently in demand. I am reaching out to these companies and organizations to see if they have contact/dialogue with the tech/cyber industry to know how to tailor their training programs. This information can be used by the Tech Council to maybe create a coalition, partnership, curriculum, etc. so that the tech industry’s skill needs are met, and people can come out of these programs ready to be hired and get to work. With the recent removal of the 4-year degree requirement for IT jobs, there are now several jobs available but not enough people with the skills needed.
What are you doing when you’re not being an intern or going to school?
Here on the East Coast, I have been sightseeing in Baltimore, Annapolis, Alexandria, Arlington, and DC. When I am not sightseeing, I am trying out new food places that I do not have in San Diego like Nandos and fresh seafood. I also have been getting into more anime series like Mob Psycho, binged Better Call Saul, and started new series like She-Hulk and House of the Dragon.
In San Diego, I go out on walks/runs with my dog every day around 2-4 miles. I also go workout (when I am not lazy) and play basketball. To end the day, I play video games for a couple hours. In addition, living in a coastal city and having a fiancé who was born in a Caribbean country (Belize), we often take trips to the beach, mainly the dog beach. Luckily in San Diego County there are three different dog beaches, so we have a variety.
What advice would you give to other students who are looking at transitioning out of school and into the workforce when there are a lot of options and pathways out there?
I would say, as soon as you can, look for internships. A degree is not enough to get a job, you need some experience coming out of school. It can be internships in different fields, it would not hurt. The most important thing is to network at these internships as well as with your peers. I have been fortunate to network a bit and have received a job and 2 internships because of it. I would say pick up a new skill to supplement your degree. Whether it is coding, data analysis, etc. You can use Udemy, Cybrary, Coursera. Make a LinkedIn and keep it up to date. Do not be afraid to put up some well graded/reviewed work you do during your undergrad/grad career on there too.
What will you walk away with after this internship with BTS?
I will walk away with a newfound respect for those working in government contracting. It almost seems like a 24/7 job at times. It’s also been interesting seeing how tech/cyber is entering its booming phase. There has been an increase in jobs in the field, so the need is there. It now has me interested. I am entering my final year of grad school and on the side I will be working on expanding my skills in Excel as well as learning new skills like HTML, Java, Python, and R.
- Fav movie franchise: Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Fav video games: Call of Duty, FIFA, God of War
- Most loved sports teams: Lakers (Lakers Exceptionalism is a real thing)
- Your go-to snack: Cookies, Trail Mix, Granola bars