Cameron Firtz

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.

Erik Schnaderbeck

My name is Erik Schnaderbeck and I spent the summer of 2014 working as an engineering intern for the company Envirocon. Envirocon specializes in construction projects focusing on environmental remediation, dredging, sediment remediation, geotechnical engineering, demolition, and building remediation. Envirocon was founded in 1988 and has completed almost 3000 projects. The corporate headquarters are based in Missoula, MT with numerous regional offices all across the United States and Canada. This past summer I worked predominately out of Envirocon’s regional office in Portland, OR. and traveled to projects throughout Washington, Oregon, and Montana. I spent time working both in the field and the office. In the field, I assisted with project oversight, surveying, determining material quantities, and quality control. Time in the office focused on preparing cost estimates for large constructions projects, scheduling, coordinating with subcontractors, and preparing bid packages for clients.

This experience proved to be invaluable as I was fortunate to work with great people and work on a large variety of complex civil engineering projects. Working both in the field and in the office showed me what goes into effectively completing a large engineering project. Coursework from classes focusing on fluid mechanics, geotechnical engineering, structural analysis, and numerical modeling provided a very strong foundation to be able to tackle any project I was assigned. Working for Envirocon and receiving “real-world” experience is something I will carry on with me to future endeavors and projects. Working as a summer intern also allowed me to travel throughout the Pacific Northwest and see new places. I strongly feel that having a summer internship is the best way to solidify career goals and desires, the possibilities are endless.

Kyle Kuhl

I am senior civil engineering student at Colorado State University and will be graduated May 2015.

I was fortunate enough to have an internship with SBM Offshore during the summer of 2013.

SBM Offshore is a company based out of The Netherlands, with a headquarters in Houston, Texas. This company focuses on providing FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) oil ships that extract oil from deep to ultra-deep zones in the ocean floor. During my time at SBM, I developed a technique to maintain patents and intellectual property. I collaborated with the Sales & Marketing, IP, and Engineering teams to get the process developed in three months. I also worked on capture plans, bid proposals, and research for the Leviathan project, to be set place in the eastern Mediterranean, by Noble Energy.

Besides thoroughly enjoying the experience, it was a great opportunity for me to learn the business side of a company and to work with and collaborate with a variety of professionals in the engineering business.

Being able to develop a patent- managing process on my own was extremely satisfying and certainly built on my self-confidence.

I recommend every student try to do at least one internship during their academic year to gain additional practical experience.

GO RAMS!

Greg PertsevCSU student Greg Pertsev, at the project site visit of the Pueblo Dam (an addition of a unique discharge valve) in Pueblo, CO

My name is Greg Pertsev, I am a Civil Engineering student at Colorado State University (CSU), graduating in May 2015. I am an elected treasurer for the American Society of Civil Engineers, student chapter. My 5-year goal after graduation is being a manager of a small-scale project of a global corporation.

According to U.S. News & World Report, CSU Civil Engineering department is ranked No. 31 in the U.S. Although CSU has a very strong engineering program, taking required classes and electives for your major gives you basic knowledge, “engineering essentials.” Having additional work experience is what makes current CSU graduates stand out when entering the job market.

In the summer of 2014, I interned with Colorado Springs Utilities, after hearing about this opportunity from the department academic advisor, Laurie Alburn. This internship was one of the most valuable and unique experiences of my educational career. During the internship, I was able to contribute to a Billion-dollar water delivery project, Southern Delivery System (SDS), and interact with project managers and engineers of Colorado Springs Utilities and MWH Global, a leader in water infrastructure. SDS is currently in the construction phase and includes 50 miles of pipeline, 3 pump stations and a water treatment plant, designed to deliver water from Pueblo to Colorado Springs.

Throughout the course of the internship, I was able to incorporate and enhance my engineering skills, time management, leadership, and effective team organization. While working at the field office, I greatly enjoyed seeing the construction process, observing large-scale concrete pours, and learning how to interpret structural and rebar drawings. Couple of weeks into the internship, I realized the full value of the opportunity to work closely with program managers and therefore, at my request was transferred to the main office. From office assignments, I learned about project controls and procurement, got involved with change management, and gained experience in resolving contractor claims. At the end of the summer, all interns had to organize a presentation for the project leaders to describe our experience and progress throughout the program; which became a great lesson on public speaking.

After completing this internship, I became more confident, more professional and more accustomed to working in an office environment. This experience has increased my enthusiasm to join the industry and has made me more focused and time-efficient student for my remaining year at CSU.

Melissa James

My name is Melissa James, and I am a senior civil engineering student at CSU graduating in December 2015. During my time at CSU, I have had the opportunity to learn real-world applications both in and out of the classroom. I had two internships as an undergraduate student that opened my eyes to the possibilities of civil engineering in the real world. Through these experiences, I was able to not only decide if this type of career path is right for me, but also got to sample different work place environments.

My first internship was during the summer after my freshman year at CSU and was with the Bureau of Reclamation in my hometown of Carson City, Nevada. As an intern with the Bureau of Reclamation, I was given the task of accompanying employees on field trips as well as doing various in-office projects. Throughout the summer, I got to know the different people in the office and hear their opinions, advice, and suggestions about schooling, finding the perfect job, and life in general.

My second internship was during the summer after my senior year prior to my final semester. This internship was with MWH Global and was broken into 3 parts. The first part of the internship took up the majority of the summer and had me working with the water resources division at the Sacramento, California office. While in Sacramento, I worked on projects in various stages of development. I gained a sense of belonging through the friendships and mentorships built in the Young Professionals Group events and activities. The second part of my internship took me to the small town of Yellow Pine, Idaho to do fish surveying on an old mining site. This part of the internship required both physical and mental strength from me as I bushwhacked my way through the forest with my coworkers to find the test sites and got chest deep in cold, mountain stream water. The final stage of my internship had me again working in an office for the water resources division, but this time in Fort Collins, Colorado. These final two weeks spent in the Fort Collins office gave me the opportunity to compare and contrast the work space environment of a big office (in Sacramento) to a small office (in Fort Collins).

Through all of these experiences, I have gained a new knowledge and appreciation of the world around me as well as the possibilities that lay ahead for me. I learned so much by doing actual project work and by interacting with people of various backgrounds, personalities, and opinions. I am grateful for the connections I have made and am excited to see where life will take me next!

Cody Oser

Hello, my name is Cody Oser and I’m a super senior (5th year) in Civil Engineering, with minors in Business Administration and International Development Studies at CSU. I’ll be graduating in December of 2015 and after school will be serving in the Peace Corps as a Water Resources and Environmental Engineer in Panama. In the summer of 2013, I had an opportunity to do an internship abroad in Nairobi, Kenya for a small startup company called SunCulture. This internship was a fantastic experience that inspired me to get involved as a leader in CSU’s Engineers Without Borders, managing a potable water supply and distribution system project in El Salvador, which was one of the best experiences I had in college.

Living and working in Kenya, even for just a few months, was a fantastic experience. My daily commute involved overcrowded minibuses and motorcycle taxis, my lunch was always from street vendors, and my internship even gave me the opportunity to travel around East Africa and go on safari and other adventures!

 

SunCulture

SunCulture is an agriculture-focused social-enterprise company founded by two Americans in Nairobi, Kenya which operates throughout East Africa. It is focuses on introducing high-tech Western agricultural methods to poor, smallholder farmers in the region. Their core products are solar-powered automated irrigation/fertilization (fertigation) systems which dramatically improve the efficiency and output of these small farms, allowing the farmers a chance to escape poverty.

During my time with the company I had the opportunity to work on the design and prototyping of an upgraded system which incorporates weather and soil sensors to automate and optimize fertilizer use and irrigation. This is especially critical for these farmers because fertilizer is a major expense and the climate is dry, so water is a precious resource. This system incorporated the development of an SMS-based “app” for farmers to control the system using their cell phones, improving the system’s efficiency and freeing up more time for them. This work involved building a small prototype “farm” outside of the company’s office and writing a lot of code for Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

small prototype farm

Additionally, I helped do a lot of work with GIS to develop a database for the company to have a better idea of the hydrologic resources in the country (Kenya doesn’t have extensive data networks like the USGS here). This internship was a fantastic experience and taught me a lot about entrepreneurship, product development, microfinance, coding, development work, etc. that I wouldn’t have learned in coursework and really helped me figure out what I want to do with my career.

Nick Sianta

Hello my name is Nick Sianta and I’m a Civil Engineering major at Colorado State with a minor in Spanish, graduating in December of 2015. Completing nine semesters of coursework, I can confidently say that the civil and environmental program here has given me the pertinent skills to be a successful engineer. The courses are comprehensive and cover the many areas of civil engineer. However, there are many things about the industry that can only be gained through work experience. I was fortunate to have a couple opportunities that have certainly improved my engineering knowledge.

My first internship experience was working as an undergraduate research assistant for the Geoengineering program at CSU, supervised by CSU’s Dr. Chris Bareither. I worked on a research project that assessed the shear strength of geosynthetic clay liners (GCL), an engineered material used in fluid containment applications. The major task I was given was to design the testing apparatuses that would be used to measure the shear strength. Working directly with CSU’s own machinists, I was able to take my ideas from paper to a working prototype. Along the way, I gained the critical design skills that you can’t get from class. Additionally, I performed soil testing, created synthetic chemical solutions, and performed wiring for data acquisition.

I also had the opportunity to work an internship outside of academia, working as an inspector and materials testing trainee for RockSol Consulting Inc., based out of Westminster, CO. The project that I worked on was the resurfacing of State Highway 66 in Longmont, CO. Working through the night to reduce traffic hazards took some getting used to, but the experience I gained was invaluable. Our role as the engineers was to perform quality assurance, overseeing the operations of the contractor and subcontractors. Understanding the interactions between consulting engineers and contractors is something you don’t get in class, but is essential if you aspire to work in project management. I prepared quantities for the milling, asphalt, and striping of the highway, using the information to make cost estimates. The highlight of the job for me was working with a crew composed mainly of Hispanics, practicing my Spanish through the night and serving as a translator when necessary.

Performing an internship of any sort is extremely valuable for career development. It doesn’t have to be in the exact field you’re interested in; simply by getting outside of the classroom you learn other skills that all professionals have. I can confidently say that my experiences have better prepared me to contribute to the industry than if I had only done the coursework.

Ron Hickman

My name is Ron Hickman and I am currently in my senior year of civil engineering. This summer I worked for Freeport-McMoRan in Bagdad Arizona. My job included working on several projects at the Bagdad Copper Mine. My main project was to perform the engineering project management for a road reconstruction that would be completed in the spring. This included creating AutoCAD plans, performing hydrologic analysis on rainfall data, doing hydraulic design for various drainage infrastructure, and writing scope of work documents.

To complete these tasks I was required to do field surveying as well as using information from topographic models. I also worked on the structural design for a tie off point above the copper filter feeding tank, and helped monitor the integrity of the primary crusher transport tunnel for safety assurance. Overall it was a great summer and I learned many skills that I will be able to take with me for the rest of my carrier.

Ron Hickman

Noelle FilloGreetings! My name is Noelle Fillo and I recently received my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Engineering with an Ecological Engineering concentration. While matriculating, I secured two research-based internships in Fort Collins, one of which I am continuing post-graduation.

Noelle FilloMy first internship took place at the Hydraulics Laboratory in CSU’s Engineering Research Center. I started in my second year at CSU and worked for 1.5 years installing, managing and uninstalling hydraulic experiments in large flumes. The projects I was involved with focused on river modeling, overtopping analysis and materials testing. During these projects, I learned how to operate MIG welders, LIDAR, stream gauges, total stations, numerous power tools and Bobcat models S250 and S850 (shown.) This experience enhanced my understanding and interest in hydraulic engineering, as well as introduced me to a mentor who helped me expand upon my professional interests and offered strategic advice in pursuing my career goals.

ExperimentI began interning with Advanced Environmental Technologies, a local environmental remediation innovator, in my final year of school. AET specializes in sustainable remediation of soil, sediment, groundwater and wastewater via bioelectrochemical systems. I have helped construct some of our patented products (shown) and have also managed case study data, created animated marketing media and troubleshot the company website. Currently, most of my work is devoted to the research and development of bioelectrochemcial reactors for the commercial production of graphene oxide. My company is collaborating with CSU researchers on this project, so I spend most of my days in the Scott Bioengineering Laboratories monitoring/maintaining prototypes and writing reports detailing observed trends and making recommendations for future reactor configurations. I consider myself lucky that I get to learn something new every day while on the job and that I am surrounded by a network of brilliant, kind coworkers. I am thankful for this opportunity and cannot wait for what the future holds.

Colin Geminden

nternship with Larimer County

My name is Colin Geminden and I am a graduate from CSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. In the summer of 2016, I received an internship with Larimer County department of engineering. The internship was for pavement inspection, which consisted of driving all around the county and inspecting specific sections of pavement and entering the data collected into a database. The pavement could be asphalt, or unpaved, like a dirt road in the mountains. This is done to provide the county with information that will lead to the decision of which roads to repave with their available funds. I learned a lot about teamwork, as I had to work with a partner. I learned all the back roads in Larimer county, got to spend some time in the mountains, and towards the end of the internship, got to inspect culverts. I very much appreciated the investment other employees at the county provided to the interns. I could see the level of intricacy involved with an engineering project and got to meet some very experienced engineers. I highly recommend to incoming engineers to find an internship at some point during your college experience. Thanks to this internship and good academic performance, I landed another internship with the DIA.

Internship with Denver International Airport (DIA) in progress

During the summer of 2017, I had the privilege of working at DIA which is now DEN. Denver International Airport was a great place to work. I could shadow project managers and go to the construction sites on the airfield. Whether it be runways, taxiways or service roads. I also attended project update meetings, conducted by the project managers. After going to these meetings for 10 weeks, I have come to understand the importance of communication and coordination in engineering. I was also able to do some design work. At DEN, most of the design work is contracted out, but there were a few in house design projects that I helped design, including a service road reconstruction project and a smaller one that I coined as the AOB Parking Assessment. This is one I hope to see implemented at DEN by the end of the year. Not only did I get lots of engineering experience, but I got to work with awesome people. I even got to shadow other airport departments, such as operations, safety, and the FAA. I even got to go up in the FAA control tower, a tour which I organized. There were lots of intern events (I was one of 17 interns working at DEN in various departments). Events included a Rockies game and meeting the CEO and EVP of DEN! It was the best experience I have had so far, and has definitely sparked my interest in joining DEN as a long time employee.