Name: Brenda Lai 

Year: Senior

Major: Public Relations and Advertising with a Game Development Minor

Extracurricular Activities: Member of Delta Kappa Alpha – Professional Cinematic Club

In the summer of 2023, Brenda Lai, a public relations & advertising and game development student received an internship with the growing tech company Roblox. Her experience greatly impacted her academic career at the Fowler School of Engineering (FSE). She applied the skills learned in the game development program to better understand her purpose in the company. 

In her initial role as an Employer Brand Intern, Lai supported the team by crafting innovative tech stories and leading the production behind an inter-docuseries. Due to Roblox’s strong mentorship capabilities, Lai’s internship evolved into a part-time position as a Campus Ambassador for Chapman University. 

As an interdisciplinary student, Lai brings opportunities to Chapman Engineering through her efforts such as virtual information sessions, coffee chats, and collaborating with FSE’s Career Center.  

Lai adapted to her new work environment with ease since Roblox fosters hands-on work and collaboration, much like the values found at the Fowler School of Engineering. Lai thoughtfully shared her unforgettable experience working for a growing tech company. 

Q&A With Brenda Lai

Q: Can you share your current role and your responsibilities in this role?

Lai: So, right now I’m a Campus Ambassador for Roblox. I help promote our early career program to Chapman students and also raise awareness that these roles exist for early technical talent. 

It’s pretty flexible. I can make my own schedule. I have the ability to choose my own projects. For example, a few Fridays ago, I hosted this virtual info session for Roblox and that had like 58 attendees from Chapman. So that was really cool. And I plan on doing more collaborations with clubs and making sure FSE students can learn about opportunities at Roblox. 

I was also previously an Employer Brand Intern, which is sort of separate. I was interning in the summer and I was basically supporting the team with crafting a story of how Roblox is one of the most innovative tech companies. So, it was really interesting to do that side of marketing just because I’ve always done marketing to push products or features. But here I got to do the corporate side of promoting itself. I got to support the team on a bunch of projects even my own.

Q: What excited you the most about your role as an Employer Brand Intern and in your new roles as a Campus ambassador?

Lai: I would say I like a mid-size company like Roblox, although we are growing at a large scale. I think it’s really cool how you’re able to have ownership in your projects, not just for myself but for my other SWE interns. We were able to lead our own projects and they [Roblox] really trusted us to take the steps ourselves but still provided us support on the side. It was really cool to see the projects I worked on be available to the public and have that impact in that way. 

For Campus Ambassadors, this is the second year they’re doing it. So, I’m really excited because I feel like the Fowler [engineering] program is still growing and I think that there’s so much potential for Fowler to grow to eventually be a top engineering program in the future. I want to show that it doesn’t matter what school you go to because there’s a lot of talent at Fowler and I just want to help bring that experience here. 

Q: What can engineering students expect from a job at Robolox?

Lai: What’s unique is that at Roblox, you’re matched to a team. At other companies, you typically apply for a team specifically. But [at Roblox] you fill out this survey and you get matched to a team that they think would be great for your experience and skills. There are a lot of teams within Roblox and I think that’s really exciting how there’s so much that’s happening on the platform. Engineering students should expect that you’re able to create an impact. I feel like it’s really hands-on and you have a lot of support. You’re given both your manager and your mentor so they’re there for you every step of the way. I’ve seen a lot of interns grow throughout this summer. They were able to learn a lot and also take in the experience. We’re fostering this culture of continuous learning. 

Q: How has Roblox been essential to your career development? 

Lai: We have this meeting called the “mid-point meeting” with our managers and mentors just to highlight what you have been doing well and what you can improve. So, transparency is a big part of the culture. There are a lot of areas to learn and you’re encouraged to reach out to different people across the organization even if they’re not in your direct team just so you can always learn and cross-functionally as well.

Q: So, would you describe the culture at Roblox to be similar to the culture of collaboration at FSE?

Lai: Yeah, for sure. There’s a lot of cross-collaboration especially in marketing because not only did I work with my team but also PR, and we worked with engineers because we were trying to promote their work. Just across the board, I feel like there’s a lot of horizontal collaboration but you’re also encouraged to, if you’re able to, step up across the hierarchy like if you want to talk to VP just because I feel like that’s more efficient than having to go from everyone’s manager to the next. 

Q: How has your current role impacted your experience at Chapman?

Lai: I think it’s been great because, through the Campus Ambassador role, I was able to connect with so many other students. 

I’ve definitely been out of my comfort zone during my internship just because it was all about reaching out to people and taking ownership of things for the first time. So, I’ve been more daring when approaching work and school because I don’t think I care as much anymore. That anxiety feels kind of removed. As a campus ambassador, speaking to 50 + students is really scary but I’ve learned that you shouldn’t be afraid because it’s a two-way street. 

Q: Have you seen some Chapman students take an interest in the roles from Roblox?

A: Yeah, for sure. I’ve had people message me on Linkedin, Slack, and Discord. I’ve had students ask for coffee chats. There’s a lot of interest just because Roblox for a lot of kids, has grown up being on the platform. So, I think there’s a lot of interest in that nostalgia just because Roblox has one of the best internship programs in tech. 

Q:  What are some things you wish you knew earlier going into this process of finding the internship?

Lai: This is really cliche but what’s meant to happen will happen. It’s really sad because I did get rejected by quite a few companies that I liked and it was really heartbreaking. But you have to realize it’s not personal. It’s not like they rejected you for other reasons but because they found a better fit. And you will find your better fit it’s just that maybe it will take time but as long as you keep on going and have that persistence throughout it will work out. Job hunting is daunting but we got this. I didn’t expect to get Roblox at the end. But sometimes it’s just about the right fit and you shouldn’t take it personally. 

Q: What advice do you have for other students who are looking to get an internship or job with Roblox?

Lai: I would say if you’re interested in a specific company it doesn’t hurt to reach out to alumni who are working in the company through Linkedin. Some students might not understand the magic of being a college student. Because people will always be like ‘oh, you’re a college student I’m always willing to help and have a coffee chat’. So, don’t be scared and just reach out to someone if you’re interested in what they’re doing in the company. 

Students interested in an internship or career at companies like Roblox should visit the Fowler School of Engineering’s Career Center for more information.