I believe it is important to actually experience as many opportunities as possible before you decide what route you want to go.

Name:  Angel Oparaocha
Major:  Civil
Employer:  DPR Construction
Location:  Reston, VA

How did you find the internship/co-op? What was the interview process like?    I found the internship through the Fall Career Fair. I went up to DPR's booth, connected with one of the engineers, and handed them my resume. Then, I got a call a few days later asking if I was interested in an interview.

What have been the most interesting aspects of your internship?  I really enjoyed the intern events that we had! We went kayaking in Georgetown DC and played TopGolf.  We had our own float in the Pride Parade. I also really enjoyed the site that I worked on. I worked on the construction of a Data Center; seeing the ins and outs of what really goes into the makings of such a complex building was interesting.

How would you describe the company culture? What was the most helpful thing your supervisor did to make you feel comfortable at the organization?   The company culture was very family oriented. They wanted you to feel at home, especially in the main offices. They were very friendly and made sure that you had a good work-life balance. It was clear that they wanted DPR to not feel like a stressed out job, but a place that you enjoyed coming into every day. Because of that, there were people who have worked there for decades and this was the only job they've held because they loved it so much.

Was there a formal program for all interns at the company? Was peer support available throughout the internship?  There was a formal program for all the interns. We had orientation the first few days. We also had to present a project at the end of the internship showcasing what you did over the summer and what you learned. There were also intern events and lunches.

How have your career or academic goals changed as a result of this internship experience?  During my internship, I had experience in the field, and in the office. I realized that I prefer to be in the field as a field engineer and going more the superintendent route rather than in the office and going the project management route. I like to be outside and interacting with the subcontractors, rather than in the office doing  documentation. I believe it is important to actually experience as many opportunities as possible before you decide what route you want to go.

What advice would you give other UMD engineering students seeking an internship or co-op position?   I would advise other students to not be afraid to apply and reach out to companies. You miss every chance that you don't take.