What are you doing for the summer?
I’m an intern at Sparo Labs, located in downtown St. Louis.
You’re doing research?
Haha I guess it sounds like that, but no, I’m not. Sparo Labs is the digital health startup (founded by WashU alums!) that created Wing™–the first smart FEV1 and peak flow meter. Wing is a pocket-sized sensor and app that empowers people with asthma and other lung conditions to easily measure, track, and proactively control their disease. You attach the device to your smart phone, blow into it, and receive instant analysis of how your lungs are doing.
Oh, that sounds cool! But what exactly do you do there?
I’m the community manager. I’m in charge of blog posts, social media, newsletters, interacting with patients and doctors…basically anything that has to do with engaging the Wing community!
So, like, you’re just on Facebook all day?
*eye twitch* No…
Do you like it there?
Yes, it’s great! It’s a very small team, so I know everybody, and they’re all fun to be around. I’ve learned so much since I’ve been here–both about asthma and about being a community manager.
How small is the startup?
Very small! There are only six of us in the office: the two co-founders, three product and software developers, and me. We also have a developer who works remotely from California and a graphic designer who works remotely from here in St. Louis.
What’s your favorite thing about working there?
There are several. Like I said earlier, I enjoy being around the people I work with, and I think that’s really important. I can’t imagine going to work every day and thinking, “Oh no…not these people again.”
I appreciate how much freedom I have with my job. I’m allowed to come up with new ideas and test them out. I don’t think that’s an opportunity I would have if I worked at a bigger company.
I also like the collaboration. Andrew and Abby, the co-founders of Sparo, are always willing to brainstorm with me. We work with the graphic designer as well, who I sometimes even bounce my own design projects off of for feedback.
How did you end up with the internship?
I wanted to spend a summer in Saint Louis, so I started looking for things to do around here. Just like last year, I didn’t come across my internship until after I’d already applied to a lot of other jobs and internships. A friend in my apartment building told me about a community manager position. She was considering applying, she said, but thought I would enjoy it a lot more than she would. She emailed me a copy of the job description, and it was just a big YES for me. I knew I’d enjoy this kind of thing, so I applied, interviewed, and now I’m here.
But weren’t you doing music stuff in the entertainment industry last summer?
What are you studying again?
Applied linguistics, Japanese, writing, and computer science.
That’s not a question.
Sorry, it’s just…how do your past internships, your current internship, and what you’re studying at WashU all tie together?
Ah, I see where you’re going with this. You want to know what I’m doing after I graduate. Luckily, I’m already prepared for the “what’s next after college?” and “what are you doing with your life?” questions!
I’m actually starting an electronica band called Bab3l. The plan is that each band member will speak a different language, so we’ll only be able to communicate with each other in the universal language of code, mainly Java and C++. Very avant-garde. And we’ll be indie, of course, so I’ll handle all the marketing and community management myself. You’ll probably hear at least one of our songs in the new Spider Man movie.
Just kidding. I don’t know yet. ‘Tis the anthem of the college senior!