semajekendall spotlight

photo courtesy of Semaje Kendall


Meet Semaje Kendall - a results-oriented Senior Information Systems major with a minor in Economics from Huntsville! Semaje has been doing big things during his time at UAH so far, one of them being an amazing internship with the Federal Reserve. Read more to learn about Semaje’s time interning at the Federal Reserve.


1. Where are you from and what brought you to UAH?

I’m from Huntsville, AL and went to Buckhorn High School. I came to UAH after deciding to change career paths from marketing to data analytics. After considering a few other programs at other institutions, I decided to go with UAH because their degree program was perfect for my interest and the emphasis on career development was appealing.


2. What made you choose to major in business?

My main interest is in economics and financial data analytics, but I was also intrigued by the potential job prospects related to IS, especially when I considered the job market in Huntsville. So I decided to minor in Econ and major in Information Systems:Business Analytics and Supply Chain. That way, in the case that a career in economics doesn't work out I would still have Information Systems training to fall back on. 


3. How did you find out about an internship all the way in St. Louis and what was the process of obtaining it like?

I scour job boards like its a part time job. So, I found their internship posting online, and after I applied I luckily got a call back about my resume. My phone screen went well, and I was able to interview for two open positions within the bank via skype. I set up my laptop on a stack of books inside of a room in the CU, interviewed, and a few weeks later I was offered the internship. 


4. Can you tell us a little bit about the work you did at your internship?

I worked within the FRB STL for a division that provided services for the U.S. Treasury. I floated and worked on several projects within our team, but in my largest undertaking I was tasked with researching and presenting information on a new file sharing platform that would host confidential information between government agencies and the FED. At the end, I made a presentation to the U.S. Treasury and helped our team get the go ahead to move forward with implementation.


5. How did your internship at the Federal Reserve help you further develop the skills associated with your major?

As it relates to economics, I got to see the inner workings of the Federal Reserve System and how it actually works. I had no idea they did so much more than monetary policy and bank examinations. I was also assigned a mentor, who advised me on the organizational culture and career development. Lastly, I was allowed to speak with economist, most notably Jim Bullard and senior policy advocate Ray Boshara. The experience solidified my intent to pursue a career related to economics. 

As far as information systems goes, I was able to directly apply hard skills and knowledge I gained in the classroom to deliver real results on a project working with the FED and the U.S. Treasury.


6.What lessons have you learned while working for the Federal Reserve?

One, I learned that, mentorship and networking is critical to career development. Two, regardless of how sociable you are, don’t overlook your need to develop your collaborative skills. Get out there and get involved because that’s the best way to develop them.


7. What advice would you offer to someone who is currently seeking an internship?

One, remain diligent. I submitted countless applications before I finally received offers and landed an amazing opportunity. Two, have a personal website or portfolio to display your projects to substitute the lack of work experience you may have, even If you have to work on side projects in your personal time. Three, utilize the career services center. I’ve visited their offices for just about everything; externships, resume reviews, etc. You can’t access them enough.


8. Describe how your internship has better prepared you for your career.

I left with a clear understanding of the next steps I needed to take in order to advance in my career. I credit that to the mentorship, 1 on 1’s, Q&A sessions provided by the program.

Also, I left more confident in myself. Working with other bright minded interns, becoming a knowledge expert in a particular software, and having to answer to my superiors on high stake projects as an intern certainly boosted my confidence.


9. How has your time at UAH prepared you for opportunities such as this internship?

I was fortunate enough to work in the Student Success Center as a PASS leader and I believe that experience caused me to be perceived as a student who can lead others and has the ability to learn. It was an opportunity, referred to me by my instructors in the school of business.

Additionally, I’ve learned a number of hard skills, academic skills, and critical thinking skills at UAH.


10. What is the most interesting thing that happened to you at your summer internship?

We got to have a Q&A session with Jim Bullard, the bank president, days after he made headlines for casting a dissenting vote against a rate increase. We also got to learn about the complex relationship between the FED and the White House as well. It was quite an interesting conversation.