UM Science Co-op student lands job at Apple

Nicholas Josephson set to graduate this spring says his co-op experience was "life changing"

If the powers that be in the Science Co-op have a dream scenario for their participants, Nicholas Josephson’s co-op experience would be it. After two successful placements at local tech companies (Norima Consulting and Invenia), Josephson landed a much sought after internship at Apple as part of their Software Accessibility Team. Referring to his Silicon Valley stint as a “life-changing experience”, Josephson says that he is grateful to have played a part in Apple’s focus on accessibility, since it has impacted almost all aspects of his life (Josephson is visually impaired).

The added bonus? The UM graduand’s placement eventually translated into a full-time position with Apple. Once COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted, he’ll be returning to California as a software engineer on the team with which he interned. It’s a heady time for the young Computer Science student.

“I want to help empower everyone the way I have been. It’s truly a dream come true to be working on this team.”

It’s certainly a long way from Josephson’s early days at the UM. The Miles Macdonell Collegiate graduate chose the UM since it was close to home and offered a well-established Computer Science program. Additionally, both of his parents were alums, which gave him additional confidence in his choice.

When asked to cite his most valuable learning experience, Josephson references the summer spent in the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab, headed by Dr. James Young. Through an Undergraduate Summer Research Award (URSA), he was able to join the lab. Josephson says that summer opened up his world.

“It was my first time being able to really apply what I had learned, and in such an interesting and unfettered environment. There we were, a group of undergrads, all wide-eyed and learning together. Everyone was so welcoming; we all had fun both inside and outside the lab. Dr. Young really set the tone in the lab, and made us feel part of the team. We were immersed in the world of academic research and supported to explore our own areas of interest. For me, that was researching the intersection of telepresence robots and accessibility. I am very appreciative for the opportunity.”

Josephson has all good things to say about Science Co-op, and Computer Science Program Coordinator Lisa Wise. He feels that Wise and her team set the stage for his success by helping him to develop his soft skills and “…discover what real world work in the field is like.” Josephson asserts that this method was far and away the “…fastest and most rewarding way to learn.”

As he prepares to graduate from the UM and eventually head back to California and Apple, Josephson’s advice to students is:

“You can recreate classroom learning in many ways, but you can’t recreate the unique experiences, the interactions, and the connections, step outside your comfort zone and pursue all of the opportunities that the greater university has to offer. Apply to co-op. Try out research. And most importantly, don’t assume that any opportunity is out of your grasp.”

Written By Jo Davies