Students enhance skills, explore careers in summer internships

Mumble strips, bridges and waterways, surveying, pavement construction, and highway noise sampling are just a few of the topic areas explored by students in this year’s Summer Transportation Internship Program.

The program, offered jointly by CTS and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), allows U of M civil engineering undergrads to gain real-world experience in transportation and hone their professional skills.

The following students from the U of M’s Twin Cities and Duluth campuses participated in the 2016 program, working in these MnDOT offices:

  • James Bolton, Bridge Office, Hydraulics Unit
  • Logan Camilli, Office of Traffic, Safety and Technology
  • Paul Fritton, Office of Environmental Stewardship
  • Yousan Foo, Office of Materials and Road Research
  • Chen Hu, Design Office, Metro Division
  • Brittany Jurrens, Office of Land Management, Geodetic Unit
  • Carlos Moreno-Gomez, Bridge Maintenance and Inspection Unit, Metro Division
  • Shaluka Samarasena, North Area Management Unit, Metro Division
  • Joshua Tarr, Office of Traffic, Safety and Technology

Student highlights include working directly with MnDOT engineers on a variety of projects, taking field measurements, writing research reports, and offering guidance to local transportation agencies.

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“My favorite parts of the summer involved research and updating MnDOT policy,” says Joshua Tarr. “I never thought I would be doing such important work. My internship has shown me real-world application skills in the field of engineering [and] allowed me to create a clear path to landing a job.”

The internship also offered students the chance to further develop their general professional skills. According to the interns, the program helped them improve their communication skills, learn new software programs, troubleshoot problems and prioritize tasks, and interact effectively with MnDOT employees, city and county engineers, and individuals at consulting firms.

In addition to providing practical work experience, the program also exposed some interns to new areas of educational and career interest.

“This internship helped me to expand my understanding of civil engineering,” says Paul Fritton. “I now have a much greater interest in and appreciation for the work that environmental and water resources engineers do. I am looking forward to [taking] classes in fluid mechanics and water/wastewater treatment to help me learn more about where my interests lie and where my career path will lead me.”

Posted in Education, Workforce development

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