Quick Take: Insights from an internship
Posted October 11, 2012
ASU senior Mathew Watson spent the past summer working as an intern with Greeley and Hansen, a nearly century-old engineering company based in Chicago with more than 300 employees and 18 offices throughout the United States.
Watson, whose home is in Colorado, is majoring in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.
He’s also a member of the ASU student chapter of Engineers Without Borders, an organization that aids developing countries in need of engineering solutions.
Among his career aspirations, he says, is “to improve urban environments around the world by building more sustainable water infrastructure.”
The summer internship gave him an opportunity to collaborate on engineering design work, feasibility studies, master planning, construction management and more.
He also participated in the company’s Designing Your Future Leadership Conference, an interactive, two-day conference at the company’s headquarters in Chicago that focuses on career management and leadership development for engineering students.
Watson writes about the experience:
I learned of the position through a LinkedIn contact. After researching the company, I found its goals and focus would be a very good fit for me.
I worked on a study of the overall wastewater collection and treatment system for a large portion of the Valley [in the greater Phoenix metro area]. I was assigned a professional engineer as a mentor, who gave me excellent guidance.
I learned a lot about how the industry works, including that an engineering firm does a lot more than just design. I learned about the project planning and development process, and about client relations and budgeting. I was able to work on some really large and amazing projects.
The biggest challenge for me was being able to communicate in a clear and effective manner to a wide variety of audiences. I think engineers often lack good communication skills, so it’s something we should all learn.
I would tell younger students to not be afraid of what you don’t know. Always seek help, because even the most experienced engineers ask for help when they don’t know something,
Joe Kullman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.