By Antwaun Parrish
Working alongside industry experts provides university interns with a comprehensive and elaborate spectrum of experience, which can help them secure employment in the future.
Oluwaferanmi Ogundana, a junior civil engineering student, and Samuel Coleman (pictured left), a senior civil engineering student, were both selected as the Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering interns for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far East District (FED).
The AMIE program provides the interns with real world experience in several capacities throughout the district.
Ogundana attends Morgan State University—he states that he selected this program for his first internship because of his interest in learning new skills and his interest in East Asian culture.
“This is the first time I have been this far away from my parents, and I wanted to experience that feeling,” said Ogundana. “I was interested in Korean culture and the technology here. When they started telling us about 5G being in use here, it was impressive to me.”
The district interns are placed on a learning rotation throughout their stay where they work within the project management, engineering and construction divisions during the nine-week program. This rotation provides them a full scope of how daily and long-term operations are executed here.
According to Ogundana, in school, he is shown what he can look forward to within the engineering field, but here he can see the process, which he describes as eye-opening.
“I actually know what the program managers are doing and what the construction and engineering teams are doing throughout the project development process,” said Ogundana. “It actually put everything into perspective and gave me more of a focus of what I can reach toward. I came here with the idea that I wanted to learn engineering, but definitely my eyes opened up to program management, and the construction division.”
He went on to state that it is fun going to construction sites and observing the facilities actually being developed.
“When I was in school, I was looking at a screen and they were trying to describe it [project management] to me,” said Ogundana. “Now that I actually see it, I can actually understand it more, and I feel like it is going to help with my upcoming year in school.”
Ogundana wishes that the district could implement a winter program, however, he is definitely interested in being selected as an intern next summer.
Coleman attends Tennessee State University and states he wanted to experience working outside of the United States. He said he expected to learn the full range of project management and how it all ties together for project delivery.
“I wanted to learn why the Corps of Engineers was so prevalent in influencing other engineering companies and why it was a great place to work,” said Coleman.
Coleman enjoys the rotation program that FED provides him as an intern at the district. He goes on to explain what he learned from each division within the district.
“In project management, I learned the process of a project and how it’s executed from start to finish, and all the different people that are involved,” said Coleman. “I learned how to talk to different clients and different contractors and engineers, and how it ties them all together to get the project done.”
For Coleman, this is his fourth internship and as he completes his senior year this fall, he said that he feels prepared to apply what he’s learned toward his near-future career.
“This experience will assist me with future employers and describing my experience to them,” said Coleman. “This internship was different because it provided me the full scope of engineering and I appreciate this experience.”
Photo credits: ANTWAUN PARRISH