BOSCO Intern Spotlight: Alex Etienne


In addition to Adam, another student from the University of Notre Dame, Alex Etienne, is interning for BOSCO in partnership with Notre Dame’s NDBridge Program. Alex is a rising sophomore studying mechanical engineering with a minor in corporate practice; upon graduation, he plans on getting his MBA (Masters of Business Administration). A native of Houston, Texas, he enjoys Texas barbeque, swimming, and photography. Photography has been especially profound while in Uganda regarding the beautiful foliage, flora, and countryside. 


When asked what attracted Alex to BOSCO-Uganda he stated he was interested in the concept of “sustainable technology” and renewable energy in developing countries; the prospects and hope that these ideas bring for areas such as northern Uganda provides new opportunities. In regards to his specific projects and responsibilities, he has focused on the CE3 Project at St. John-Paul II College where he worked to develop a sustainability plan to replace the solar batteries which don’t provide enough energy through the night. As a result, a generator is having to be utilized which is expensive in the long run and not sustainable. New batteries such as those in his proposal, while expensive in the beginning, can help to mitigate expenses in the future and increase the capacity of the battery’s energy storage. This has helped solidify BOSCO’s mission for Alex as he has witnessed firsthand the importance of communication and technology in rural Uganda, especially for students; this is why developing sustainable solutions is vital for the continued education of those at St. John-Paul II.

When asked how his internship has affected his personal and professional growth, he stated he feels it has been an important stepping stone to a future career in engineering with a focus on business. Since Alex hopes to enter the field of corporate engineering, the work he has been involved in, which includes aspects such as purchasing, finances, as well as the practicality of engineering, helps to give him an example of what he may be doing in the future. He has grown in his understanding of working for a team within a company. He recognizes the importance of responsibility, meeting deadlines, amongst other requirements. 

One accomplishment Alex is proud of so far includes designing a new framing system that would reduce the mass of solar panels by 50%. Some skills Alex has gained that he feels will be helpful in a future career include his ability to communicate in a professional manner as well as presentation skills while proposing new ideas and solutions. Alex says the most challenging aspect of his internship has been adapting to a new way of working in an unfamiliar environment and learning different customs and understandings. When asked how Alex would describe the work culture and environment at BOSCO, he shared the same sentiments as Adam. Alex says BOSCO is like a family and all those around him have been available to help him when he needs assistance and support him. 

If a prospective intern looking to make the most of their experience asked Alex what advice he would have for them he said to focus on managing your time and giving each project a fair amount of time and attention. This is especially important in terms of balancing his work commitments with other commitments, too. Alex says he has learned to prioritize and compartmentalize when dealing with other commitments and his work priorities. 

Alex says BOSCO is different from other companies in the similar sector of sustainable technology and expanding ICT center accessibility because BOSCO operates with a faith-based approach and mission that makes its projects more meaningful. In terms of the resources available to him, Alex likes to utilize online resources if he is stuck; if he can’t find the answers online he reaches out to Moses, his advisor, at BOSCO. He is also able to connect with professors and other researchers at Notre Dame to seek advice too. 

When asked what insights or lessons Alex has learned while at BOSCO, he shared it’s important to learn to love your job even if it isn’t as glamorized as others portray it to be. Many people in the field of tech share a glamorized version of their jobs, but it’s important to remember that it is also challenging. He hopes to take the advice, knowledge, and tools he has learned while in Uganda to his studies back in America and eventually his future career. 

Article by Greg Gehring


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