I worked directly with superintendents of all disciplines, (civil, electrical, piping, etc.) and with the construction manager overlooking the entire project.
How did you find the internship/co-op? What was the interview process like? I applied on the Bechtel site in Fall 2018. I underwent 3 interviews. The first one being an introductory interview to see if I was a good fit, culture-wise, for the company. The second interview was a video interview that was a behavioral interview. The last stage was a panel interview over the phone where managers got to know my interests and goals.
What have been the most interesting aspects of your internship? As a project controls engineer, I had the opportunity to work closely with every level of the construction process. I worked directly with superintendents of all disciplines, (civil, electrical, piping, etc.) and with the construction manager overlooking the entire project. My mentor on the job site described Project Controls as a role that allows for maximum visibility within the organization.
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 great, while it is definitely results based, management understands that the job is only a part of an individual's life. There is exposure to management outside of work through "Meet The Manager BBQs" which are held at the homes of managers. There are also groups such as NextGen that give new hires the opportunity to bond and grow with coworkers. The most helpful thing my supervisor did was give me the freedom to dip my feet into different parts of the organization to learn.
Was there diversity among your colleagues within the department and throughout your internship/co-op experience? There was not as much diversity as I had expected; the internship cohort was 40 people with a majority being Caucasian. The office environment was similar, with me and one other full-time employee being the only minorities in our group. The organization is making an effort to build diversity.
Was there a formal program for all interns at the company? Was peer support available throughout the internship? Yes, each intern was assigned a buddy to work with and there were strict deadlines for assignments, such as the final report presentation. There were weekly surveys sent out to track our progress, as well as an entire professional development program that was required of all members in the organization.
What advice would you give other UMD engineering students seeking an internship or co-op position? Go for as many opportunities as possible, near and far! This internship was on the west coast and it was my first time being away from the DMV where I had lived my entire life. Being in a new environment can be uncomfortable, but it allowed me to get to know myself better. When it comes to securing a position, be genuine! There is no need to fake a persona to get a job because maintaining that is going to be harder than the actual job. We should all strive to work at an organization that accepts us for who we are.