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Recruiting innovation: Telos Corp. wraps up summer internship program

L-R Telos summer interns Connor Corcoran, Raj Shrmali, Robert Fairfax, Anchit Killa, Daanish Ahmed, Katie McEnearney, Rich Robinson, Director of Innovation, Telos. Times-Mirror/Karen Graham
With the goal of training young, highly skilled high school and college students, Telos Corp., an Ashburn-based cybersecurity firm, wrapped up an innovative summer internship program Aug. 22.

The three-month program offered a specialized curriculum focusing on integrating science and business concepts.

“Telos wanted to see these kids in the work setting and as potential hires. Ultimately, we want them to come back,” said Telos CEO John Wood. “I was impressed with their applied knowledge, knowing not just how to do things but why things work the way they work. We are hoping other businesses in Loudoun will embrace the program.”

Led by Rich Robinson, Telos’ director of innovation, the group was recruited as an experiment to see if they could handle cyber challenges.

Robinson explained the first half of the summer was spent working on a project together as a team, and figuring out each others' skills.

The second half was spent working on an entrepreneurial business program, where the students had to develop their own business ventures.

These programs were presented at a reception Aug. 22 at George Washington University before an audience, including a panel of judges who listened to the two business plans.

The first was called InsureANTS, which is a technology that has been made available through the Department of Homeland Security’s Transition to Practice program. The interns presented a business plan for this technology. The judges had a number of questions for them and advice for improving their plan and presentation.

The second business plan was for a technology the interns had developed on their own. Named “Double,” the device allows sharing of large files across a mesh network. Their presentation was completed with a videotaped dramatization of their value proposition.

“GW was pleased to host this inaugural event with Telos at our Virginia Science and Technology Campus. It is a reflection of our ongoing engagement with the community and the strength of our industry partnerships. GW's educational and research activities in the cyber arena are increasing and we recognize the value of this internship in preparing the future workforce needed to sustain this important industry,” said Ali Eskandarian, dean of GW Virginia Science & Technology Campus.

Although the panel had a number of questions about the security of such a device, this business plan received high accolades and was named the winner of the competition.

The curriculum for entrepreneurship business was based on a program by William Aulet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.

“It was really fun and very informative, and I learned a lot about business and how to talk to business professionals,” said Katie McEnearney, a recent graduate of Stone Bridge High School, who will be attending Drexel University this fall.

“A lot of companies would not put this effort into this type of concept. The idea for the program happened on a Wednesday and by the following Friday we were up and running. We saw a lot of extremely intelligent scientists develop and not know how to market their products, as well as business people only looking at the bottom line. We wanted to break that cycle early and give them a broader perspective,” said Robinson.

For businesses and students interested in this program, contact Rich Robinson at Telos Corp. at 703-724-3800.


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