Beyond the Internship

May 10, 2017

When we say our employees explore their passions here, we make sure to enable them to do so. For our interns, this means helping them explore avenues where they can steer their career towards. This is why so many of our interns go on to stay at Adobe, where they continue to grow and develop.

This is the case for one such employee, who started off as an intern, and is now the first Hardware Research Engineer on the Adobe Research team. Starting off in 2015 as an intern through the GEM Fellowship Program, TJ Rhodes made the most of his internship and, as he likes to call it, “the long interview process.”

When TJ joined Adobe as an intern, he was picked by Adobe. “I always like to say that I didn’t choose Adobe. Adobe chose me.” This is because TJ was part of the GEM Fellowship Program, which means that a company would sponsor him for a guaranteed 2 internships. “I was very surprised, but thrilled.”

Packing his bags, TJ left Connecticut and made his way to the Adobe Headquarters in San Jose. And in 2016, things really picked up. “Gavin Miller personally contacted me to do a project. It was right in my expertise and he basically wanted me to build a machine that didn’t exist and asked if I was up for it.”

TJ’s answer? “Time to show my stuff.”

And he certainly did. TJ’s project involved developing a method for rapidly capturing materials for photorealistic 3D rendering. He even had the opportunity to attend this year’s Tech Summit to participate in a co-talk with Gavin about inventing robots. “Tech Summit blew me away. I got to do a demo with Gavin and we talked about robots for Adobe and what it could mean,” he said.

After TJ finished his internship, he was approached by some high-profile tech companies, but he knew he wanted to stay with Adobe. “I can grow here, and not be thrown into a ‘system.’ I would be joining Adobe as their first Hardware Research Engineer. I hope to lead a team here one day.”

Since joining Adobe as an employee, TJ has been keeping himself busy with new projects. “My role exists on collaborating with other researchers in the lab. Gavin has so many ideas, and it’s my job to turn them into a reality. I’m working on multiple confidential projects now, and the pressure is on to top my last project.” TJ said.

But he’s already set his sights on his BIG goal this year. “I’m obsessed with the idea of going to Adobe MAX this year and presenting a new project. I know I can make it!”

When we say our employees and interns make an impact at all levels, we don’t exaggerate. From intern to research engineer, TJ has been exploring his passion since he stepped through our doors. As for his words of wisdom to incoming interns, he said “Have fun. Learn something new. That’s the point of an internship. But also treat it like an interview. It’s your one shot to showcase your talents to Adobe.”

Where will your career take you? Check out openings on our career site and find out.