By Dawn Reed
Trusting the process. It’s a brave, bold discipline for all of us – especially when we can’t see beyond the next step. But, it’s a discipline that can produce extraordinary outcomes. Just ask Regent University’s College of Arts & Sciences student, Maximiliano “Max” Gigli (CAS ’20) whose steps to Regent led to a leap to Google: “When you step out in faith, doors you never knew existed can suddenly open for you.”
When Gigli arrived at Regent as a transfer student in the fall of 2018, his plans for the future were somewhat vague. Born and raised in Argentina, he’d spent time playing soccer in the U.S. for a community college in Mississippi but held an interest in technology: “I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to be in IT [information technology].”
Vocation. Location. Distinction.
As Gigli began narrowing down his college transfer options, he knew he wanted a college that offered a high-quality IT program, and preferably, in a town with nice weather close to the ocean. Too specific of an ask? Not at all.
His search led him to Regent University … in Virginia Beach, VA … just 15 minutes from the ocean … and offering a unique combination of academic challenge with a Christian worldview.
Regent definitely stood out from the beginning: “The admissions team was very supportive … they made sure I was aware of what was happening at all times,” Gigli says. “I came to Virginia Beach for a campus tour and was shown Regent’s Cyber Range — a robust, state-of-the-art facility equipped for cyberattack simulations and world-class training — it sealed my decision to enroll.”
Up until his campus visit, he had never thought about a career in cybersecurity. He credits Regent’s professors for showing him what he could do with a cybersecurity degree and how he could transition from college to the professional world.
Stepping into Opportunity
“I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone.”
What Gigli didn’t know was that the professional world was calling him a lot sooner than he ever imagined. His steps of faith to Regent led to a highly prized, yearlong dream internship in Zurich, Switzerland, at Google – one of the most prestigious tech companies in the world.
“My Google internship ends this June . My experience to date is beyond incredible,” Gigli says. “Learning and growing opportunities are at your hand, and there is continuous encouragement from managers and teammates to just keep learning and keep trying new things.”
He describes Google’s working environment as “very welcoming, high-paced and challenging most of the time, but also exciting and defying.” One of his biggest personal takeaways is experiencing such a high level of commitment to work and project excellence.
Gigli also shares that one of the things he appreciates most about Google is their commitment to ensuring interns learn about the role in which they were hired and how that role fits in the industry: “Google makes it very clear, from day one, that interns are not hired to fill a project or a need; rather, they are there to learn and enjoy the experience.”
Currently, Gigli is exploring how to convert to a full-time employee at Google: “I still have some classes left at Regent, but, luckily, Google allows you to have your conversion interviews before you leave. If you are hired, they will reserve an open spot for you until you finish with your degree.”
Preparing Personally & Professionally for Your Future
Because Regent equipped Gigli with both technical and personal skills, he has thrived at Google. In fact, he directly credits his courses, professors and the organizations he participated in with providing him “an opportunity to learn and put into practice the necessary technical skills to enter the professional world.” He also praises Regent for developing his leadership skills, which he says is “an essential component to the technical knowledge needed for a career in my field.”
Gigli has a message for potential students like him, who don’t know exactly what they want to become: “I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. Go beyond the expected and try to learn as many new things as you can. When you take the time to explore possibilities and learn new things, you’ll not only find your passion, but doors of opportunities will open up to you.”