Students go to extremes

22 Jul 2004

IBM has named the eight third-level students that have been selected to take part in its student internship programme, Extreme Blue.

For the first time two female students join the ranks this year. In addition, Oxford University student Mark Cummins also becomes the first participant to come from outside the Irish universities, though he will be living in his home town of Dublin rather than Oxford for the duration of the project.

The successful students were: Aiden Grandfield (University Limerick); Angela Heenan (University Limerick); Donogh Roche (University College Cork); Graham O’Keeffe (University College Cork); Mark Cummins (Oxford University); Mary Lee (Trinity College Dublin); Niall Murphy (Maynooth); and Amit Varma, (UCD/Smurfit School of Business).

The programme gives promising IT students access to some of the world’s most sophisticated labs and mentors in the technology industry. Over the next three months the selected students – based at IBM’s Dublin Software Lab in Santry, North Dublin – will work on projects that will solve real business problems faced by IBM customers. In teams of four students and three IBM mentors, each will work together on developing high-level software programs that could potentially be used in IBM products across the world. Mentors will be drawn from various parts of the IBM business, and students will be able to tap into the expertise of some of the most experienced IT professionals across the world.

Students who took part last year filed patents and contributed to the development of ideas that have the potential for inclusion in IBM products, noted Bill Kearney, head of the Dublin Software Lab.

“Last year was our first year of running this programme and it was a phenomenal success,” he said. “Many of those who worked on Extreme Blue last year have since been employed by IBM and if the opportunity arises this may be the case again in 2004. Even so, the students have a great opportunity to work with some of the most innovative professionals in the industry, and they will get a lot out of it.”

The programme will be split into two projects, with teams of four working on each, both related to the work of the Dublin Software Lab. On completion of their projects and before returning to college in September to complete their final year studies, the students will be taken to the Extreme Blue EMEA Expo 2004 in the Netherlands to present the results to some of IBM’s most senior executives.

By Brian Skelly