By:  Shenal Kotuwewatta

This January, I worked at TechChange as a micro-intern in the tech team. It was a wonderful experience, and I learned a lot from my work during the micro-internship. I also had a blast getting to know the amazing people who work at TechChange and learning about TechChange’s mission of driving social change. I was located in my home country Sri Lanka for the entirety of the micro-internship, but the team made sure that I had no trouble working remotely across time zones.

True to its mission, I found TechChange to be a very human-centered company. This was apparent from my first interaction with TechChange when I underwent a unique interview process that focused less on memorizing technical details and more on looking at the big picture. As someone who has gone through many traditional algorithm-based tech interviews, I found this to be refreshing and was immediately drawn towards TechChange.

Once at TechChange, I was able to quickly ramp up on its tech stack and get started on my project, which was to implement a “message reaction” system (similar to those on Facebook/Slack) for TechChange’s chat application. The tech team members always helped me whenever I needed it, be it for diagnosing a bug or reviewing my code. I was able to get a lot of work done over the four weeks of the micro-internship. I also attended a company-wide sprint demo where I presented my design documentation for the project and received valuable, positive feedback from teams across the company.

Overall, I feel my time at TechChange was productive and educational, and I’m excited to see what TechChange has in stock for the future!

Q: So, tell us more about yourself. How did you end up working in education? 

I come from a family of educators. Both of my parents were teachers and I’ve known from a very young age that I wanted to work in education. After college, I started my career in education as an academic advisor, and I’ve been working in learning spaces ever since. I worked several years in Student Affairs serving in academic advising and student success roles, and eventually transitioned into Faculty Success and Learning and Development (L&D). I love what I do. At heart, I’m a learner, and one of the many benefits of working in the education field is that you’re always learning and surrounding yourself with like-minded people who love to learn and teach.

Q: How did you first hear about TechChange?

I have a Ph.D. in Conflict Resolution Studies and have been following social impact conversations on social media for a while. I first learned about TechChange through LinkedIn and TechChange’s CEO Nick Martin’s #NickatNoon posts. 

Q: What are some of your favorite parts of working at TechChange so far?

I’m always curious about how technology can be leveraged to teach more effectively and in more engaging ways, and so far my favorite part about working at TechChange is learning about how TechChange uses technology to enhance online learning experiences.

I also really enjoy how much my coworkers love games and game design, and using gamification techniques to create learning experiences that are both fun and innovative. As a person who loves board games, card games, and video games, I really feel like I’ve found my people.

Q: What excites you about this role?

It’s important for me to do good in the world and to find fulfilling roles that contribute to change in a positive way. I think that’s what attracted me to the education field in the first place and what ultimately led me to TechChange. At TechChange, I feel like I’m making a difference by building training experiences for organizations and people who make a positive impact every day. To me, that’s incredible! Just the thought of that provides so much meaning, knowing that the work that I do can make a positive difference in the world around me. 

Q: Anything you look forward to working on or learning at TechChange in the next year?

We really live in an exciting time in education and I believe remote learning has opened up so much potential for building better and creative ways to learn and train virtually. Online education has come a long way in the last ten years, and has accelerated exponentially in the last two. TechChange was an early adopter of this potential and built a teaching philosophy around the strengths of online learning. That teaching philosophy really resonated with me and I’m really looking forward to using TechChange’s methods, tools, and technologies to develop virtual experiences that are unique and customized for our partners. 

Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

I love trivia. I’m not great at trivia or good enough to be a contestant on Jeopardy, but I love it because I always learn something new. Before the pandemic, I used to play trivia with my friends about once a week at local spots in the San Diego area. After the pandemic, I found online trivia, and it quickly became one of my favorite things to do to connect with family and friends. I still play trivia with my friends at least once a month and highly recommend Trivia Galaxy on Twitch. The trivia host is outstanding and donates funds regularly to non-profit organizations.