am a Civil Engineering major here at Colorado State, graduating in May 2015 and returning to CSU in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in the Geoengineering program. During the summers of 2013 and 2014 I had the opportunity to work as a transportation engineering intern for DOWL, a firm specializing in transportation and civil design projects. The company has a number of offices across the western states, although I worked solely out of their headquarters in my hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. As implied by my position title, I spent my time assisting the engineers and project managers on various transportation projects ranging from minor lane additions on roads to a large-scale $50 million interchange reconstruction. The latter, consisting of the implementation of an innovative interchange design that was the first of its kind in the state and in use in only a handful of locations across the country, made for the most rewarding experience during my time at DOWL. I was primarily tasked with researching the numerous technical parameters associated with the designs that had been implemented in other states and compiling them so that we had an idea of how to proceed with the Alaska project. Being a part of such a significant project that would eventually improve the lives of thousands of people was all I could have asked for from this internship.
Field work was another important part of my job, and it gave me the opportunity to travel both around the city and across the state to collect data that was required for the projects. This, along with the office work I performed, provided me with valuable experience that gave me a much clearer idea of both what I do and don’t want to do in the future. I feel much more prepared for working in the real world after college and I think it will make the transition from school to work much easier when the time comes. There’s no question I wouldn’t be where I am today and where I’m headed next without my internships, and I think all students should try as early as possible to find an internship since it will provide so many more opportunities, as mine did for me.