This summer, I was fortunate enough to intern with McCarthy Building Companies, a construction company that specializes in commercial buildings. I had an absolute blast working with such a fun, genuine company.
My title was “Project Engineering Intern” and I took on the roles of an entry level project engineer. As an intern, I coordinated field issues with the project management team and trade partners, wrote requests for information to the design team, helped lead cluster coordination meetings between the architect, engineer, and contractor, tracked construction progress to write weekly newsletters, and walked the site to ensure quality against drawing details. By far one of the coolest aspects of my summer was working on-site in a trailer. Every day I got to walk the site and watch a building get constructed before my very eyes. I witnessed the concrete roof be poured, admired as the exterior façade was attached, and saw the evolution of the interior from open space to completed walls. If you’re ever in Irvine, CA and drive by the new UCI medical office building, that was my workplace for the last 3 months!
While my experience with McCarthy taught me so much about the field of construction, it also helped me grow immensely as a person and a professional. Internships are about so much more than learning about a potential profession—they are incredible opportunities to develop your personal soft skills. I know as engineers our curriculum and focus is largely technical, but soft skills like communication, networking, and teamwork are vital in the workforce. My summer working at McCarthy taught me to leverage the professional connections that internships provide us. They encouraged me to ask questions, talk to people, and underscored that the personal connections you form are just as important as the work you do. In doing so, my confidence increased tenfold. So, my advice to anyone entering an internship is to use it as a chance to work on your social and networking skills! By the end of my summer, I had the confidence to talk to employees all across the company—from the superintendent on site to the regional president.
If you’re thinking about entering the architecture, engineering, and construction field, I highly recommend trying an internship in construction. Luckily, USC’s Construction Management Association of America made acquiring an internship easy, as it has a plethora of networking events with companies. Student organizations like this are a great resource for internships and job opportunities at USC!