UMD Undergrad Bennett Sellers Serves as Microsoft ‘Sprintern’

The computer science and psychology double major interned at Microsoft through Breakthrough Tech DC’s winter 2024 ‘Sprinternship’ program.
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Bennett Sellers, a sophomore psychology and computer science double major, spent the 2023-2024 winter break interning with Microsoft through the Breakthrough Tech D.C. Sprinternship program— a program that pairs University of Maryland and George Mason University students with tech companies for paid, three-week micro-internship opportunities. 

Sellers said he was surprised and excited to find that he’d been accepted into the program, which he heard about through an extracurricular interest: Sellers, the treasurer of the Maryland Club Swim Team, learned about the program through a colleague he worked with at a pool last summer.  

Sellers said he learned a variety of new skills and concepts over the short time he was with Microsoft. 

“I worked with a group of four other interns to design and create a file-sharing application that could work in environments with an unstable internet connection. To accomplish this goal, we needed to use many programs, languages, and concepts we were unfamiliar with,” he said. 

Networking with professionals and presenting that file-sharing application to software developers and project managers are the other Sprinternship experiences that Sellers is grateful for—experiences that, he believes, his choice to study psychology prepared him well for. 

The computer science track leaves 12 upper-level classes open for different subjects, Sellers explained. While many others in his major tend to pursue math and business courses, Sellers said that psychology has been the ideal second major for him. 

“I believe that an understanding of psychological concepts makes one much better at presenting and conveying ideas to others,” he said. “Networking and gaining personal connections are huge in the tech world, and a basic understanding of social psychology goes a long way in any industry.”

Sellers was intrigued by the connection between technology and the mind at a relatively young age. He can still recall the day his fifth-grade teacher introduced the programming language website “Scratch” to his class. 

“My friends and I designed and programmed video games during class, and we would get other students to help us playtest them,” he said. “I looked forward to studying computer science in college after that, even when I found out there was much more to the topic than just creating video games.”

Sellers’ long-term dream is to study neural technology and how “brain chips” can aid human development. While still focusing on software development and hopeful to return to Microsoft, he plans to seek out jobs that will utilize his psychology concentration.

—Story by College of Behavioral & Social Sciences

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