Nothing marks the bittersweet end of summer quite like kids heading back to school or returning to campus. At Civiltech, that end of summer ritual also involves saying goodbye to our summer interns.
Civiltech has a robust internship program with many interns that return for multiple summers or join the company for full time employment upon graduation. We enjoy the energy and fresh perspective that our interns bring to our projects, and they remind us that together, we are always learning.
This summer, we welcomed three engineering students to our internship program. As they prepared to head back to campus, we asked them to share some insights from their experience including what they enjoyed, what they found challenging, and what they viewed as their most significant learning experience or takeaway.
Joey received an Associate of Engineering Science degree from McHenry County College and this fall, is attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Junior. A Mechanical Engineering major, Joey joined our Construction Engineering department for the summer.
Joey shared that as a Mechanical Engineering student, he enjoyed watching the mechanical functions of the impressive machinery used on project sites. Also, he enjoyed talking with the many people who were working on the job sites in a wide variety of roles. Joey stated that he was nervous at first, especially when needing to communicate with people who were older and more experienced. He found that everyone was personable and happy to answer questions. He credits the Resident Engineer on his project with creating a job site that had good camaraderie.
The main challenge that Joey experienced was the uncertainty of how to handle issues that cropped up in the field. He found it disconcerting when contractors would ask his permission to move forward on certain tasks. He learned to discuss the situation with the Resident Engineer and ensure that he was reading and interpreting the construction drawings correctly and answering contractors appropriately.
Despite learning construction management, Joey said that the most significant takeaway in which the internship benefitted him was developing professionalism. He heads to U of I with a greater confidence in communicating in a professional manner including stronger written communications and an appreciation of the importance of neat handwriting to ensure that communications are clear and legible.
Patrick is a Construction Engineering major at Iowa State University and returned this fall to start his sophomore year. He worked in Civiltech’s Construction Engineering department on a double diamond interchange project in Joliet.
Patrick shared that he found working on the large and complex project to be beneficial. He enjoyed observing the construction process and seeing the working drawings come to life. Patrick said that the main challenge he experienced was working with the calculations of elevations for soil and special waste depths. He enjoyed learning how to shoot a control point, then perform the calculations to set the heights for instruments, pipes, and other construction needs.
Project team organization and how all the players work together was of particular interest to Patrick. He felt his greatest takeaway from his internship was a strong understanding of how contracting crews and subcontractors are coordinated on the project site and how the chain of communication is executed.
Darius returned to Miami University where he is in his 4th year of Mechanical Engineering. He worked this summer worked in Civiltech’s Chicago office as part of the C*NECT team.
Darius shared that he enjoyed the opportunity to work in the field and to shadow his project’s Resident Engineer and Inspector. Working on City of Chicago Arterial Resurfacing projects provided Darius the opportunity to follow projects from design to construction, seeing the design created, captured in drawings and modeling, and then built in real life.
Darius said that the most challenging component of his internship was learning Microstation, a CAD software used on his projects. However, he enjoyed the opportunity to “play” and learn within it.
Positive collaboration was a significant takeaway for Darius. He explained that the projects on which he worked involved many people, and he felt he learned a great deal about the importance of strong collaboration on project teams and how well Civiltech staff work together.