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Jennifer Bagby

Finance and Management Double Major

Jennifer Bagby, of Herndon, Va., a junior double majoring in Management and Finance, wanted something different out of her internship experience.

Paul Lombardi ’95, CEO of Reston-based TeraThink, met Bagby as a potential internship candidate through Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Innovate Living-Learning community. Bagby voiced her wishes for a unique on-the-job experience, and Lombardi ultimately selected her to intern at TeraThink in the summer of 2016.

“He took what I said to heart and put me on a variety of different projects. Every day was different and I was able to see various aspects of the company from HR and recruiting to business proposal review.”

TeraThink, which Lombardi launched in 2002, is an IT and management consulting company that employees about 200 people, most of whom work on government contracts with 30 different federal departments and agencies. While the business primarily operates in the National Capital Region, Lombardi also reports operating about 8 other states.

Bagby was the company’s first intern, and Lombardi took the selection and implementation processes seriously.

“I wanted to make sure the internship was meaningful,” explained Lombardi, who also serves on the Apex CIE Advisory Board. “I didn’t just want her to come to a Hokie-run company and get a paycheck.”

Some of the key projects Bagby worked on included reorganizing the company’s intranet site, conducting social media research, and writing procedures for recruitment and on-boarding.

“I am very detail-oriented and love efficiency, so writing Standard Operating Procedures and creating workflows was very rewarding,” she said.

Lombardi was pleased with Bagby’s contributions to TeraThink. She currently works part time for him remotely, and she will return for a second internship in the summer of 2017.

“Ultimately I would like to see her become a full-time employee,” he said.

In the meantime, Bagby is running TeraThink’s social media channels, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, while balancing her coursework in Blacksburg.

“I schedule my time wisely and work ahead when possible,” Bagby said. “I am also very fortunate Paul is flexible. He understands that I have a demanding academic schedule and how important Innovate is to me.”

Bagby joined Innovate her freshman year, serving on the cross-functional student leadership team. Innovate is a residential program for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Its activities include an Entrepreneur in Residence program, which places entrepreneurs and innovation industry leaders in the residence hall for extended visits, and Entrepreneurial Treks that take students to visit alumni and business leaders in the field.

Under Bagby’s leadership as Student Director of Recruitment and Outreach, she helped increase Innovate’s residential program from 55 students to 80 students this year.

“Innovate and Apex CIE have shaped my time at VT,” Bagby concluded.

And those organizations are also what helped connect her to Lombardi and TeraThink, which was a win-win for both.

“The most important thing in all of this is providing programs for students – to mature them, to develop their skills, and to put Virginia Tech on the map to rival the biggest entrepreneurial programs in the country,” Lombardi said.

Written by Courtney Cutright

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