Internships across the country are being canceled or held remotely, putting college students in a sticky situation when planning their summers, but a group of ASU students is trying to help.
Three computer science students created ismyinternshipcancelled.com, a website that aggregates crowdsourced and official data on how companies are handling their internship programs in response to COVID-19. The students, sophomore Ananay Arora and seniors Kaan Aksoy and Devyash Lodha, built the site in around two days after finding a repository of canceled internships on GitHub, an online software development platform.
Arora, inspired by the incomplete repository and a site called isitcanceledyet.com, purchased the domain name for the new site and got to work with Aksoy and Lodha on creating the site.
At first, the site was mainly a fun way to present information on internships, with emojis depicting their statuses. As it spread, users sent in suggestions for the site, and the creators added features like an interactive map.
Now, there is a Google form to contribute to the site’s list of companies and internship statuses. Statuses that have been verified by email or official announcement from a company are indicated with a blue check mark.
The list of contributions submitted to the site is public and accessible through the site.
“We want (users) to see how the entire contribution process progressed,” Arora said. “There's nothing to hide, we want to just keep it all open for everyone to see what's going on.”
Beyond posting the site to their personal Reddit, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram accounts, the three creators haven’t done any formal promotion of the site. Arora said within seven days, the site had 13,000 users, with about half from countries outside the U.S. such as India, Canada and the U.K.
“I sent it to a group chat with some of my tech friends, and what would happen is it would float around ... and it would eventually come back to my friends from other sources,” Arora said.
“Some of my friends are messaging me, ‘Oh, your website is famous among my friends in Canada, I just got this through a group chat,’ so it's always rotating and coming back to me as well.”
Many computer science seniors like Aksoy and Lodha receive full-time job offers from companies they interned with while completing their undergraduate degrees.
For younger students who haven’t yet secured offers like these, internship cancellations are particularly concerning.
“We've, of course, never experienced what's happening now before, but for these students who are having their internships canceled or being put to remote, it's definitely very difficult for them,” Aksoy said.
“We hope that this website will not only demonstrate how widespread these cancellations are but also provide a resource for students to find other opportunities for internships.”
Arora came from New Delhi, India, to attend ASU. He secured his first U.S. internship this summer at Apple.
“Interning with a company in the U.S. really matters because then you're exposed to all their procedures or culture and whatnot,” Arora said. “But since this is my first internship in the U.S., I’m worried because it might just be taken away from me. And I worked really hard to get this one.”
Shortly after its launch, Matthew Prince, the CEO of Cloudflare, a web infrastructure and security company, noticed the site. Arora said Prince told the creators he was interested in working alongside them to help grow their list of companies that are actively hiring.
Cloudflare also pledged to double its incoming summer internship class to provide the opportunity for students whose internships fell through due to COVID-19 with a shot at another internship.
The creators hope to continue growing the site’s data and functions. One idea for the site is to indicate COVID-19 cases on the map to show how cases and cancellations may correlate. Arora said this could help companies decide how to handle their own programs moving forward.
Arora, Aksoy and Lodha would like people outside of computer science and ASU to contribute to the site so it can help students from many schools and fields of study.
“There's a huge variety of internships outside of just computer science and it would be great if non-CS majors also did provide us with data regarding their internships,” Lodha said. "People love this. It's a bird's-eye view of what's going on in hiring."