Information Technology Internship at Ingalls Shipbuilding; The Effects of Anime and Social Media on Western Consumer Culture

Khuu, Jennifer, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Vrugtman, Rosanne, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Graham, Daniel, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

Anime and social media have grown rapidly over the past few years, and as both continue to grow, there will continue to be an increase in the number of anime-related content on social media as well as the number of anime and social media influencers. The final science, technology, and society (STS) deliverable analyzes the social and political causes that led to the rise of anime in the West as well as the social and economic effects of anime and social media on Western consumer culture. The motivation for this research was to better understand the social effects of anime in the West and how social media plays a part in that. Being personally interested in the subject was one of the reasons why I choose to research about it for my STS research paper, but another reason was because it was something my coworker and I connected on during my internship over the summer, which is what the technical report is about. The technical report details one of my responsibilities during the internship, which was helping my manager manage information technology (IT) projects. The report outlines the process every IT project goes through and the technologies used in that process. The reason I chose to discuss this process in the technical report was because it was interesting how detailed the process for approving an IT project was and I wanted to share that process with other students who might be interested in seeing how companies approve new projects.

My role as an IT intern at Ingalls Shipbuilding was to provide aid to my manager, who was an IT Project Manager (ITPM). Our team worked alongside the Engineering and Central Planning departments to help manage their project goals, budgets, schedules, and resources. We worked with a software tool called ARAS Innovator to keep track of all completed and active projects. Each project goes through an approval process to assess its goals and requirements, its priority in relation to current and upcoming projects, the resources needed for completion, and whether or not it falls within the company’s budget. Projects were then scheduled accordingly and were marked as either “In progress” or “Cancelled”. Through this process, our team successfully manages projects to meet our client’s goals. The final technical report will go into detail on how the ARAS Innovator tool was used to carry out our duties and the in-depth approval process for the projects we managed.

For the STS research topic, anime and social media were analyzed in how they affect Western consumer culture. Anime has been around since the 1960s but only recently has it gained mass popularity, and with social media, it has grown even more and allowed many artists to share their work online. As a result, the number of anime influencers has increased. Looking at the different ways anime content is shared and interacted with on social media, my larger research question is: How does the rise of anime affect Western consumer culture in regards to social media usage? Technological momentum is used to analyze this research by looking at what lead to the rise of anime’s popularity in the West and its social and economic effects. This research shows the different ways social media and technology can be used in the context of anime and how it can often be a positive thing, like bringing people together and giving people an opportunity to profit off of their creative work, but it can also be a negative thing since many people can abuse it and send hate to others without having to face the repercussions of their actions. This research also discusses how anime influences the West’s perception of Asian people and cultures and the appreciation that comes from that but also the fetishization as well.

While working on both of these projects simultaneously, I was able to compare the similarities and differences between working as a social media influencer and as an information technician. For example, both social media influencers and information technicians do a lot of public speaking for their jobs, but social media influencers get to be a lot more creative. Social media influencers also get to be a lot more flexible in their work hours than information technicians. However, an information technician’s job is a lot more stable than a social media influencer’s since an influencer’s income is dependent on how many people will continue to follow and support them and how many brands are willing to collaborate with them. Even though being a social media influencer can be a lot more fun and glamorous, it can also come with a few downsides, including the lack of job stability and having to deal with hate comments every day. On the other hand, even though an information technician’s job is a lot more stable and they don’t have to deal with the pressures of being in the public eye, they cannot be as creative in their work and it is harder for them to increase the amount of money they make once they are placed in a certain position. Both of these jobs are very different, but they can also be very similar in some ways, and what I learned is that if someone is really passionate about something, like anime for example, and they have the talent of drawing people in and entertaining them, then being a social media influencer can be a great option for them. If someone is looking for a stable job and has expertise in the IT or computer science field, then being an information technician can also be a great option for them.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Information Technology, IT, Internship, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Anime, Social Media, Western Consumer Culture, Technological Momentum

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisors: Rosanne Vrugtman, Daniel Graham
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook

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