October 13, 2016 | by Colby Bott

From a young age, I’ve always had an interest in buildings and design. I enjoyed and did well in math and science classes throughout school, so I started to consider civil engineering as a career that would combine my strengths and interests. I have been studying at The George Washington University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science in Washington, DC, for the past 2 years. This fall, I will begin specializing and taking classes toward a concentration in structural/construction engineering.  

Last summer, I worked at a highway department near my hometown in Massachusetts. The work was certainly hands on and gave me a taste of field work in the public sector. This summer, I was looking for another internship that would give me more opportunities to really dig into civil engineering on all levels. Breaking into the professional world can be incredibly difficult, so I wanted to make sure my first experience with an engineering firm was going to be an excellent one. 

I noticed EBA Engineering listed on a project that was underway in DC and decided to look into the company more. Almost immediately, EBA was eager to reach out to me. Even before I accepted the position, I knew they wanted to have me onboard. I went forward knowing the internship would be incredibly rewarding.

One of the most valuable aspects of the EBA Engineering Internship Program is that it allows interns to rotate through different departments, giving them a feel for what their careers could look like in each discipline. I had a great experience working with the structural engineering department. For 3 weeks, I shadowed various employees on their different day-to-day tasks. On my first day, I was on a site observing repairs and was able to directly experience what I learn about in school. As the days went on and I picked up more knowledge, I was able to start contributing to projects. I began to feel like I was working as more than just an intern; I contributed as an EBA employee.  

One of my larger structures projects was a bridge inspection. The bridge I worked on was originally constructed as a temporary bridge in the late 1970s, so I needed to be very thorough with each and every inspection element. After a lot of photos and documentation, I was able to write up a full report on the structure’s condition. I learned so much throughout the process that I simply wouldn’t get in a classroom. It was great to see a project through from start to finish.  

During my full 9 weeks with EBA, I learned new terms, concepts, material, and much more. Since I still have a 2 years of school left, my internship has left me ahead of the curve. It’s cool knowing I’ll be able to go into classes with prior experience and have a much deeper understanding of how and why things are done.

I also learned the complexity of the engineering field. A single project requires multiple people working on a wide range of elements at different levels. I understand now that the engineering field is going to keep changing and remain surprising. The best thing I know I can do is to show up ready and to keep asking questions. There should always be people willing to answer your questions. If there aren’t, you are not at the right place. Thankfully, EBA was the right place. 

If you’re considering a summer internship, I highly recommend it. Internships may require some effort to arrange, but they are incredibly worthwhile. And if you’re considering EBA for a summer internship, reach out now and start asking questions!

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