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The Benetech Intern Experience: Arthi Chandra

Community college student learns the Bookshare operations ropes and creates resource for students transitioning to college

My name is Arthi Chandra, and I am an operations intern at Benetech. I am currently attending West Valley Community College and applying to four-year universities this fall. I am a competitive golfer, and during my free time, I love to read as many books as I can as well as going out for runs. I have a slight obsession about dogs and will drop anything I am doing to pet one, since I don’t have a dog of my own. My plans for college include majoring in economics with a minor in computer science and hopefully becoming a corporate lawyer in the future.

From Bookshare Volunteer to Silicon Valley Intern

Prior to being an intern this summer, I have been volunteering at Benetech for the past two years, getting to know the book uploading process thoroughly. My volunteer responsibilities consisted mainly of chopping, scanning, and editing metadata for books so that they could go into the Bookshare collection and into the hands of Bookshare users. During this internship, I have had the wonderful opportunity to work on a project that will help Bookshare’s high school students as they transition to college. I am glad my fellow intern, Kevin Leong, and I were given this project, since we are starting this process ourselves and are creating a resource that will help students like us.

Being born and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley means that I have been exposed to technology all my life and have seen how it can positively impact different communities. Working at Benetech has given me insight into a community I knew nothing about at first. I knew that tools to assist people with learning disabilities and visual impairments existed, but I didn’t know about the extensive work required to get these tools to the public. For example, I have learned the steps involved in adding a book to the Bookshare collection.

Interns Acquire More than Knowledge and Skills

The positive impact of the work being done is not the only great thing about Benetech. Since my first day, I have felt comfortable inserting myself into the close-knit group of employees here in Palo Alto. The people and environment are the main reasons why I applied for an internship at Benetech, since I couldn’t imagine a better place to work this summer. I hope to continue volunteering here until I head off to college.

Advice for College Applicants

A quick note to Bookshare users who are getting ready to apply to colleges: as hard as it sounds, try not to stress out. College applications are an extremely tiring process, and millions of students go through it every year. Many feel pressured to have all the answers, but it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed. During this time, reach out to people to get as much help as you can in whatever form it comes in: from moral support from family and friends to essay help from your English teachers. Good luck!

Learn more about how books get into Bookshare.

Arthi Chandra and Kevin Leong are the Benetech Operations summer interns. Read Kevin’s story.

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