Employee Spotlight: Meet our Co-Ops!
Do you know about the Skillz co-op program? This exciting initiative gives college students the opportunity to work alongside our staff full-time for six whole months as part of their studies, and get paid for their time spent contributing to our company.
Through this program, co-ops are treated and held to the same expectations as full-time employees. We provide a range of different roles directly related to various fields of interest and study. If you’re interested in becoming a co-op or want to learn more about our open positions, check out our careers page here. This semester, we have the largest group of co-ops to date, with nine incredible Skillzians joining our ranks. Now, let’s meet these impressive folks!
Emily Beckers / iOS Co-Op
Emily is a fourth year at Northeastern University. As an iOS Co-Op, she helps our iOS team develop mobile user-facing content. For such a tiny package, she packs a big punch. With countless hours spent playing “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band,” Emily is a bonafide rockstar. Although she claims she’s not “Through-the-Fire-and-Flames-on-Expert” good, she can play basically every other song on expert! She spends her nights playing “Awakening” and “Fates” with the sounds of procedural cop dramas in the background. She loves the San Francisco weather, and still can’t believe that Skillz encourages gameplay during work.
Jonathan Lee / Server Co-Op
Originally from Palo Alto, Jonathan grew up on video games and remembers playing ever since he could use a computer. His favorite PC game is “Battlefield,” but when he’s playing games on his phone he loves to put his math skillz to the test with our game “Tens!” As a Server Co-Op, Jonathan works to scale the platform for our growing user base. He enjoys the fast-paced environment at Skillz because nothing ever gets stale. He says: “With new features being released so frequently, there’s always something new and exciting we get to work on.” When he isn’t using the 😛 emoji, he attends Northeastern University as a junior studying computer engineering with a minor in computer science. Jonathan hopes to one day improve healthcare with the use of artificial intelligence.
Gavin Miller / Portals Co-Op
Gavin, currently our youngest co-op, is working with our portals team to help grow our websites. He is currently a sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston, but he grew up not too far outside of New York City. Gavin likes to put his strategic mind to work with games like “Europa Universalis 4.” He says “The Witcher 3” and “Portal 2” are probably two of the best games he’s ever played. Gavin’s favorite part about working at Skillz is the free dinner every night – although he’s never taken advantage of the free coffee we provide because (believe it or not) he’s never tasted coffee in his entire life and isn’t interested in trying it. With his bright smile and sunny disposition, it isn’t hard to believe that the kid from the movie Up is his idol.
Madisen Hackley / Design Co-Op
Originally from Oakland, Madisen is currently a fourth year earning her bachelor’s in experience design at Northeastern University. She works with our product team to design new features, and her creativity also shows itself in her love for drawing and hand lettering. In her free time, Madisen keeps fit by boxing and walking her dog. She loves a good dad joke, and has been exploring the Bay Area through her love of food. When asked about her experience at Skillz, she says:
“In the short time I’ve been at Skillz I’ve really enjoyed myself. It’s an invigorating feeling to work in a space where I’m constantly approached with different creative challenges, which in turn is rewarding because of everything I learn from working with other Skillzians to tackle a challenge. I’d never really heard about eSports before I started working here, so it has been awesome to learn so much about this dynamic world.”
Theo Davis / Server Co-Op
Hailing from Orinda, California, Theo came to Skillz through Cal Poly, where he’s a senior studying computer science. Here at Skillz, he is working with the server scalability team. When speaking about his time at Skillz thus far, he says: “It’s awesome to be surrounded by people who have the same passion for gaming as me. We all immediately have something in common, and I love that Skillz encourages you to play games at work!” In his free time, he plays “League of Legends” (a game in which he was once ranked in the top 200 players) and strikes up philosophical conversations with strangers. He looks up to Arnold Schwarzenegger because “Who else could be a top athlete, a blockbuster star, and a governor of California?”
Dan Cohen / Data Science Co-Op
Dan’s favorite part of the Skillz office are the free snacks, and he’s grateful that his desk is near the kitchen. During his time here so far, he’s converted from loving Cheez-Its to peanut butter pretzels, and contributed to our data science team “extracting insight from lots and lots of data.” Dan speaks fluent Yiddish, and spends Skillz Thursday game nights playing chess. He is currently a senior at Northeastern University studying computer science and mathematics. He enjoys playing Japanese RPGs, with “Final Fantasy Tactics” hands-down being his favorite. Dan looks up to Nate Silver, Elon Musk, and Demis Hassabis for their intelligence, positive work in renewable energy, and safe AI research.
Jenny Zhou / Portals Co-Op
Originally from Shanghai, Jenny has led an adventurous life! She called Ghana home for 10 years, and is now experiencing a new adventure as a Skillz co-op where she works with our portals team to optimize our admin and event portals. In her free time, she likes reading One Piece and trying her hand at puzzles (even some difficult ones that are completely the same color). She’s always on the move, and once traveled to 10 countries in one year! Some people call her Pikachu because she can mimic the character’s iconic sound perfectly. Her favorite part of working with Skillz is the way gaming is involved in every aspect of our company culture. Jenny especially loves the Thursday night game nights and our weekly staff tournaments. When she was young, she wanted to be an architect because she loves crafts and hands-on work. She now builds miniatures in her free time as a nod back to her younger self.
Liang Cheung / Android Co-Op
Liang grew up in Arcadia, CA and when he saw some of our server engineering team members speak at Cal Poly, he knew he would love the opportunity to work at Skillz. With the support of his team and the ability to engage in hands-on projects, Liang feels like he has learned so much more in just a couple months in this program than he would have at school. His favorite part of working at Skillz is the environment. In his free time he loves to watch TV, and like most of the country, he’s a huge fan of “Game of Thrones.” Even though he’s 5’11” he identifies with Tyrion from the show, because he uses his wit to get out of sticky situations. When asked about Skillz, he says: “Everyone is so welcoming and supportive. They actually give me work that needs to be done, and I truly feel like I’m part of the team.”
David Tandetnik / Server Co-Op
David is a Server Co-Op, meaning he helps the server team maintain and build out the functionality that backs our mobile platform. This sophomore from Northeastern University is putting his mind to work studying computer science. His favorite part about working at Skillz has been the Q4 Skillz Team Challenge, a fun-filled afternoon when he got to get to know other Skillzians through games like Shaving Cream “Pictionary” and Human “Battleship.” His favorite snack is gluten-free carrots. A little known fact about David is that he has been playing piano for more than half of his life – he loves to tap those keys and will use his velvety voice to serenade anyone who wants to listen to a beautiful Beatles ballad. Even though he didn’t know there were different types of specialties growing up, David always knew he wanted to be an engineer. Congratulations, David! You’re one step closer to making your dreams come true.
If you’ve been inspired by these bright young minds following their dreams, you can become a co-op too! Don’t worry if you’re not in college – you can still become a Skillzian by filling one of our other full-time open positions!