Intern innovates at UPS

Sonia SaravananBy Zachary Nelson
The job description for an internship at United Parcel Service (UPS) in Singapore was typical for an IT position. It involved fixing computers, working on equipment, helping workers set up software and optimizing workflow processes. Sonia Saravanan, a dual major in Computer Science and Finance at the University of Washington Bothell, accepted the opportunity because it seemed like a good fit for her education and experience.

She soon discovered that it also matched her entrepreneurial spirit.

In the course of her daily work, Sonia encountered a pain point within the organization. Often, central processing unit (CPU) drives would get so full that the system would slow down and hinder workflow. She believed there was a way to avoid this and pitched an idea to the operations team. Impressed by her initiative, her supervisor gave her the green light to proceed.

Sonia’s idea paid off. She developed a computer program capable of reading CPU drives that would alert users when they were reaching capacity. With the tool, users can then clear data from individual storage drives so their computers continue to run efficiently. It has saved the company time and increased productivity.

So far, UPS has incorporated her tool in Singapore. Sonia hopes it will be used in the United States as well.

“Looking for an internship, I never imagined that a company would allow an intern to innovate,” said Sonia. “I am grateful I was given that opportunity at UPS. Seeing my ideas celebrated is a great feeling.”

Sonia also incorporated other classroom experiences in her day-to-day duties as an intern. “At UW Bothell, I learned how to work in small groups,” she said. “Having that experience definitely helped when I got to UPS. I understood the dynamics of teamwork and blended in well with the team.”

Sonia says the time-management skills she acquired in class helped, too. “I got used to producing things quickly for school projects,” she said. “When I was given lots of work at my job, I knew how to manage my time efficiently to achieve the best results.”

Sonia encourages students who are looking for internships to aim high and do what they find most interesting.

“I’ve learned that there’s no limit to what you can accomplish with an education and experience from UW Bothell,” she said. “Follow your passions and work hard.”


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