University Spotlight: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This blog piece was written by Sarah Rudd, Sage Corps’ marketing intern.

Hail to the Orange, Hail to the Blue!

As a senior at the University of Illinois, I was excited to reach out to a fellow Fighting Illini, Neil Limaye, to see what he was up to this summer.

Neil, a Summer 2017 Sage Corps fellow, is one of the many U of I students who have participated in Sage Corps thus far, and I’m sure he won’t be the last!

Here’s what Neil had to say:

Neil Limaye

Neil was in Amsterdam this summer working for Pikaplant, a startup that creates products to make it easier to care for healthy plants. He was responsible for research and development on Tableau, the company’s newest product.

He is a junior studying Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Computer Science.

What is the most valuable lesson/ most valuable skill you’ve learned or strengthened during your internship?

"I’d say as long as you give some honest, critical thought to what you’re doing, you should never be afraid to ask questions or speak your mind. Everyone you work with at a startup has a genuine interest in doing the best job, so always think about how you can improve your work."

Name one of your biggest wins of the summer.

"My biggest win would probably be going from knowing nothing about the Raspberry Pi to being decently good with it after about a week of Googling and tinkering."

(For those of our readers that don’t know, Raspberry Pi is a tiny and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming through fun, practical projects).

Why did you decide to participate in Sage Corps?

"Where else can I spend a summer in Amsterdam working for a startup? There’s nothing quite like Sage Corps."

There really is nothing quite like Sage Corps, as I’ve learned in the months I have been working at Sage Corps HQ. I decided to answer some of the interview questions myself to share some of my insights on my internship.

I am a senior at the University of Illinois studying Communication and Psychology, and minoring in Public Relations and Leadership Studies.

One of my biggest wins of the summer:

My biggest win of the summer would overall be having had the opportunity to combine my recent abroad experience with a summer internship in a field that I am interested in; I couldn’t have asked for more from an internship.

The most valuable lesson/ most valuable skill I’ve learned or strengthened during my internship:

In general, I feel that the most valuable part of my internship was the ability to work with a startup, which in turn provided me with ample opportunities to develop important skills through tangible work experience. Prior to working with Sage Corps, I had little experience with the startup world, and now it is an industry I want to continue to work within. This experience generally taught me to step outside of what is comfortable and expand your horizons — there is so much out there if you are open to new experiences, and I think that is a valuable lesson and my biggest takeaway.

How this experience has helped me get closer to achieving my post-graduation/ career goals:

Coming from a relatively broad educational platform with two majors and two minors, there has never been one clear-cut career path for me to take. Not entirely sure what it was I wanted to do post-graduation, when applying for summer internships this past school year, I was looking at a multitude of positions in order to start gaining experience, ranging from HR to PR to Marketing. Ultimately, I was offered the position of Marketing Intern with Sage Corps, and accepted. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work alongside full-time marketing employees and gain hands-on experience that has allowed me to develop an entirely new skill set. I now know that I would like to hold a marketing position after graduating, and I have Sage Corps to thank for the skills I have developed and the clarity that I now have.

Neil and I just returned to Champaign, and I know that both of us will be able to use the skills and insights that we have gained from our experience with Sage Corps in the coming school year. I’m not sure what the future holds for either of us post graduation, but I’m confident that we will be prepared for whatever path we choose thanks to our experiences at Sage Corps!

Cara Rebernick