Isabelle Catalano '13
Employer: Downtown Design Partnership (on behalf of STV Inc.)
Internship Title: Structural Engineering Aide
Describe your duties:
I assist Structural Engineers whom are working on the World Trade Center memorial site and Transportation Hub. I have been given the opportunity to read shop drawings, structural plans, review calculation packages, and attend meetings with our contractors as part of this experience.
What did you most enjoy about your internship?
Working at the World Trade Center was an amazing experience for me, both personally and academically. A very close family friend lost her fiance on 9/11, and I have seen the pain she has gone through as a result of the tragedy. I was so excited to be able to apply my engineering major to something I truly care about.
What was the most difficult aspect of the internship?
The commute! I come from Westchester, NY, so I take a commuter train first and then an extra 20 minute subway ride during rush hour. It was definitely been worth it, though! The most difficult aspect is keeping up with everything that is going on in the office. This is such a large scale project, and every engineer/architect at DDP is very experienced, so sometimes I felt a little overwhelmed. I did, however, learn so much each day and really grew from my experience.
How did your experience at Bucknell prepare you for your internship?
My Civil Engineering courses at Bucknell have definitely prepared me for much of what I did at DDP. Although I had not already learned about everything that I came across, the major concepts I needed had been covered in my classes and I felt as though my professors have prepared me very well!
How did your internship prepare you for a career?
This internship has prepared me for my career in many ways. It has taught me how to interact in a professional environment and has encouraged me to push myself and think outside the box. It is difficult to fully understand many of the drawings and documents that I see here each day, but I learn from every question I ask. Everyone was very welcoming and always willing to help.
What recommendations do you have for other students considering doing an internship?
I recommend that other students definitely apply for an internship within their field of interest! It has taught me so much. With that, it is also very important that students keep an open mind throughout their summer experience. Sometimes there may be lulls and few things to do, but make sure to be are patient and try to learn as much as you can throughout the slower periods. During busy times, don't get too stressed and work to the best of your ability. This has definitely been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I hope other students will apply for their own experiences as well!