Santiago Internship Spotlight: Martha Njuguna

July 22, 2021

Martha Wangechi Njuguna, an upcoming sophomore at Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is one of the sixteen students participating in the Santiago Virtual Internship Program during this northern hemisphere summer. She is working with the Latin American platform WoomUp, a venture that seeks to promote mentorship networks among women, founded by Columbia alumna Gracia Dalgalarrando (SIPA’15). Below is Njuguna’s story.

I’m planning to major in Computer Science, because I’m really interested in learning more about how we might look deeper into the influx of data and information that companies and organizations can leverage today and in the future in order to solve emerging demand-based problems. At Columbia, I am involved with the Application Development Initiative, as well as the National Society of Black Engineers. Additionally, I am an avid reader of African literature, and am currently reading “Ghana Must Go” by Taiye Selasi.

This summer, I have been interning with WoomUp, a mentoring startup in Santiago, Chile that works to help women grow professionally through networking and mentorship. My work includes helping to develop their new internal platform, which will be used by instructors on the WoomUp team to upload learning materials for mentors and mentees, as well as more easily manage their numerous mentoring programs. I have also been investigating, analyzing and making recommendations for improving their product based on an in-depth analysis of other companies offering similar services globally and in Latin America as well. I have weekly meetings with my supervisor, the Product and People Manager, during which I give an update on the tasks I have completed, as well as work with her to set new goals for the next week. I also occasionally attend the weekly meetings that the entire team has, to better understand the company’s goals and the role that each member of the team plays.

During my time as an intern so far, I’ve had to pick up a little Spanish, especially when communicating with some of my colleagues or benchmarking with other companies in Latin America. It’s a welcome challenge, one that has certainly sparked my interest in learning to speak Spanish, and I am excited at the prospect of taking a Spanish class or two at Columbia very soon.

I really enjoy working with the WoomUp team, and especially my supervisor, Mary Valdez, who have all made a big effort to help me learn more about the business and software development practices. They have been very welcoming from the beginning, and I have absolutely no regrets about accepting the offer to work with them this summer.