October 2017 Family Newsletter

A Spooktacular Day

Dear Spiders Family,

Happy Friday the 13th, AKA the unluckiest day of the year! While Spiders are not too superstitious, we can’t believe it’s already October (where has the time gone?). As Spiders do, we are busy getting into the spooky spirit as Halloween approaches!

Spiders have been busy at work, too. We started this semester with two new additions to the Spiders team and we finally have a LinkedIn account – feel free to follow it!

In this newsletter, we find out what Spiders got up to at their internships over the summer in ‘Building Resumes.’ We also catch up with Archit Joshi ’14 who is now working at Layer as an Android developer. Archit has some great advice for Spiders and shares what it’s like to work for a startup. In the same spirit, we asked Spiders which apps they are most addicted to–are any on your phone?

I hope you enjoy this latest edition of the Spiders Family Newsletter! Best of luck today.

Kirsty Fraser

Meet Our Newest Spiders!


Paria Peyravi is a graduate student from Tehran, Iran. She has always been passionate about art, which is how she ended up at SU studying for her Master’s degree in illustration in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. When she’s not busy refining her artistic skills, Paria likes to go camping, hang with friends, and jam out to music. While working for Spiders as a graphic designer, Paria hopes she’ll be able to learn more about how she can incorporate her illustrations and graphic designs into different aspects of business.






AJ NelsonAJ Nelson is a freshman from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, studying newspaper and online journalism at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. AJ is passionate about creativity, and is pursuing her passion at Spiders as a graphic designer. Even though she’s majoring in newspaper and working as a graphic designer, AJ’s dream job is to produce a film or TV show. In her free time, you might catch AJ dancing, shopping at Forever 21, or watching House of Cards or Shrek 2.







Alumni Spotlight

Archit Joshi

For the October newsletter, we caught up with Archit Joshi ’14 who was a mobile developer at Spiders from 2012 to 2014. Now working as a developer at Layer, a software company based in San Francisco, we asked Archit about startup culture, Spiders memories, and his career path.  

Archit Joshi, originally from India, came to SU for a master’s degree in information management in 2012 after earning his bachelor’s in information science and engineering at Visvesvaraya Technological University. At Spiders, he developed iOS and Android applications. A major project he worked on was the iAdvocate app for the School of Education, an advocacy tool for parents of students with disabilities.

Archit had previous experience with Android programming, and interested to explore iOS languages, went head first into reinventing the iAdvocate iOS app.

Hands-on projects at Spiders further motivated him to pursue a career in app development. “My work at Spiders really cemented the fact that I wanted to continue working in a technical world,” Archit said. “I also wanted to work with small teams which I continued to do after leaving SU.”

His time at Spiders helped him land a job as an Android developer at Coffee Meets Bagel, a dating platform, after graduation. In the interview, he was able to convince his employer of his app development skills partly owing to his projects at Spiders. It was helpful to be the “Android guy,” but Archit was also able to demonstrate that he dipped his toe in iOS programming.

Archit is now an Android developer at Layer, a startup company that builds software which enables other businesses to integrate messaging into their applications. Occasionally Archit’s work will involve client support, but, for the most part, Archit is further developing the Android software, doing the “heavy lifting” for the clients’ developers on the other end.

Since leaving Spiders, Archit has been working in startups and appreciates the driven work environment. He enjoys the lack of hierarchy that is inherent in larger offices, with the CEO of the company sitting at a desk only a few feet away. Archit said that there is more accountability in a startup and employees can’t get far by saying, ‘that’s not my job.’ In order to be successful, everyone has to punch above their weight.

Looking to the future, Archit is unsure where he sees himself or if he will continue in the startup realm, but is certain of one thing:

“I think it’s more the question of if in ‘x’ number of years down the line, are you making more of an impact with whatever you have learned in the previous ‘x’ years? To me, that is more meaningful than saying, ‘now I’m a manager of 14 people.’”

His favourite Jono memory, which every Spider may be familiar with, is of when he walks through the office and bangs on the cube dividers. Archit said he got so accustomed to it that eventually he would have no reaction at all.

Archit looks fondly on his time at Spiders as the people he worked with were not only passionate about their work, but were, more importantly, a little “nuts.”

Archit’s advice for graduating Spiders?

“Reach out to the Spiders alumni network. There are other Spiders out there who can help you out and are great resources,” Archit said. “Find something that you want to do and find a place where you have a bunch of other people doing the same or very similar things. I think that does great things for your career.”

What Makes Us H-app-y?

We asked the Spiders which app they couldn’t live without… Here are their responses.

Jez Sabadaquia on Scrabble: “My ideal afternoon is sitting in a lawn chair while listening to the Lumineers, playing Scrabble on my phone, and pretending I’m playing for the World Championships. And I always win (mostly because I restart the game when I start to lose, but hey it boosts my morale).”

Paige Kelly on Spotify“My music is important to me, especially for walking to class!”

Kirsty Fraser on Grubhub: “What could be more convenient than a food delivery app? My go to order from Mr. Stir Fry is saved and only a tap away whenever I’m craving their chicken and broccoli.”

Paria Payravi on Shazam: “I don’t recognize a track often, and I can identify it with Shazam.”

Liz Bullock on VSCO: “I like the edits for the photos and how it is one stream and the pictures aren’t posted for pure judgment, but for the fun of it. There are no pressures from society.”

Shazif Shaikh on Spotify: “Music is love. Music is life.”

Sam Perkins on Snapchat: “It’s a super quick and easy way to talk with friends and, in some cases, one of the only ways I can chat with international friends. Plus it’s just super fun to play with the filters!”

Katie Canete on Google Photos: “Incredibly convenient, and the Photos app makes sure you don’t lose your photos if something were to happen to your phone.”

Building Resumes

Check out where some Spiders interned over the summer and the experiences they had!

Shazif Shaikh in front of GE turbine
Shazif Shaikh in front of a GE turbine
Jez Sabaduquia and his intern team at Ogilvy and Mather
Jez Sabaduquia and his intern team at Ogilvy and Mather












Paige Kelly:

Where: Central NY Community Foundation and the Syracuse Mayor’s Office

“At my internship with the Central NY Community Foundation, which is still ongoing, I write articles for them, mainly communications work. I also work in updating their news data. At the Syracuse’s Mayor’s Office, I did economic development research and I worked directly with constituents trying to solve their problems. A lot of the time it was reaching out to the right people and finding contacts. I also wrote press releases and mayoral emails, and talked to consitutents. I also updated Datacuse to see if there were road closures. I also did research on poverty and spoke at a naturalization ceremony.”

What did you learn?

“Working for the mayor opened my eyes to what the city of Syracuse is going through and other people’s problems, so it really was a cool experience. Government and non-profits are super fun to work in. I want to work for the government one day. It’s also a pain in the ass, but fun.”

Jez Sabaduquia:

Where: Ogilvy and Mather

“At Ogilvy and Mather, my client project was with Showtime. In six weeks, our task was to increase conversion and trial rates for millennials through a digital campaign. We tackled extensive research; MRI (market research database), google searches, and interviews in Times Square. Showtime’s biggest problem is awareness among younger people, like people know the show, Shameless, but not that it’s on the service. The project was a competition between different intern groups, and my team came in the top three so were invited to present our campaign at Showtime headquarters.

It was fun working on a project in the entertainment industry because the research wasn’t boring and I was the target audience. In our research, we learned that Millennials love experiences and 85 percent watch content because of friends’ recommendations. Our campaign humanized Showtime, comparing it to your best friend who knows you better than anyone, versus computer algorithms which other services use.”

Funny story?

“During the week of presentations, we were working 16 hours a day. It was about 9 p.m. and I had not eaten breakfast, lunch, or dinner. My team and I were really close, but we were annoyed with each other because we had not eaten. At that point, I fainted, which was actually good because then we took a break for dinner for about an hour and a half and bonded! We went to a food court next door (voted best food court in NYC). It was funny right after because three of the interns started panicking when I fainted. They went out looking for help, one girl wanted to call 911, and another was running around the office and got scissors from her desk for some reason?”

Shazif Shaikh:

Where: General Electric

“While at GE Power, I was part of the global Boiler Product Management team. Boilers are part of steam power generation, but I specifically worked with coal-powered generation. Around the world, boilers burn various type of fuels to generate steam, which in turn power turbines. From there, that generates electricity which delivers power to everyone. GE Power – Powering Everyone. These boilers are not the ones that one will find in your house, but massive structures that expand in all directions with a great deal of pressure inside.

During the internship, I worked on several projects. The first involved analyzing the balance of plant with regards to mercury oxidation. Within the plant, corrosion was occurring and I was tasked with validating GE’s products within these sphere. My contributions to this was a report written as a legal appellate brief. This came from my experience in high school in law class.

The second project was most closely related to what I am studying this semester in Engineering Analysis. For two weeks, different advanced burner designs were being tested, which produced massive quantities of data. To assist in understanding the data, I performed data analysis and generated visual representations that were used to determine which designs to patent.”

Interesting story?

“While at my internship, it was the month of Ramadan – the Islamic month of fasting. I was not able to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. It was an interesting experience because I was away from home and having to rely on myself to get food once I was able to. Additionally, I was one of few Muslims within the workplace so it was an interesting experience to explain Ramadan to those who had never encountered it before. Also, it helped that I didn’t have to spend $7 on cafeteria food.”

Overheard in the Office

“I ate half of a ghost pepper and my face went numb for nine minutes.” – Shazif Shaikh

“I want to take a selfie in a kangaroo’s pouch.” – Liz Bullock