Reflection on an Internship

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Written by: Elizabeth Spellacy

As of today, I have completed my 13-week internship with Tec Inc. Engineering and Design. Before starting here, if I were to list what industry I thought I wanted to work in when I graduated, the architectural engineering and construction industry would not necessarily be at the top of that list. However, it has definitely worked its way up over the past few months. The design aspect, problem solving, and creativity involved in the job is something I was looking for and just didn’t know quite where to find. Having seen the electrical plans for a newly constructed building laid out in front of me, then going to see that building in real life was fascinating. I now cannot wait for the day that I can see a project from start to finish and walk through the building, full of pride, knowing that I played a part in its creation. 

I remember coming in on my first day and being nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yes, I have learned a lot through my classes at CSU, but I’ve been warned many times that these classes don’t necessarily prepare you for the working world. In this case, that was mostly true. Coming into the internship I had done work in AutoCAD but not so much with 2D MEP drawings, I had no idea what Visual Lighting was, and the only thing I knew about Revit was that it was used by architects. However, I did take a class this past spring semester where I learned about power systems including 3-phase systems, generators and motors. Through several projects at Tec, I was able to get a solid grasp on these theories I was taught, understand how they applied in the real world, and then actually apply it. This has enabled me to leave the internship with a better understanding of the material than when I walked in. With that being said, I am very excited for the power classes I have scheduled in my final semesters and even more excited to finish school and get back in the field. 

While reflecting on my internship, the number one thing that stands out is my mentor. I cannot thank Steve (Bohn) enough for his patience, dedication, and all the hard work he put into helping me grow as a future engineer. During my first few weeks here, Steve had several deadlines quickly approaching and a lot on his plate. Despite that, he made sure he took the time to walk me through my first project. The project was a small one that consisted of renovating three bathrooms for a nearby company. I was able to assist in creating the electrical demolition plans and electrical plans using CAD and the architect’s Revit models. He made sure to explain just enough to guide me in the right direction but not so much that it felt like he was doing it for me. As a student, I understand the importance of having a good teacher. They can be the reason you fall in love with a subject or, in some cases, the reason you despise it. With that being said, I really couldn’t ask for a better mentor or a better first experience in the world of engineering.

It’s funny to think about how far I have come in these past few months. I feel more and more confident in my knowledge of each program with every project I complete. I have worked on a pretty wide range of projects here at Tec which include parks, college campus buildings, apartments, city halls, and many more. Through these projects, I have come to understand the process of construction planning and design. Besides creating detailed electrical plans in AutoCAD, I have completed photometric calculations via Visual Lighting, visited job sites to verify and document existing devices, had the opportunity to participate in meetings (for both design and construction purposes), and learned how to properly structure and document different schedules including luminaire schedules, panel schedules, and mechanical wiring schedules. Each project that came my way had something new or different than the projects prior. This allowed for continuous growth in knowledge and kept me both interested and on my toes.  I always feared I would fall into a career that would be the same thing day after day; leaving me bored and unmotivated. I never felt like that here and I don’t see how you could. 

The projects themselves aren’t the only thing that has kept me interested. Tec also takes part in charity events, hosts company social events, and even holds “Lunch and Learns” which include food and learning about different topics in the field. Recently, I had the opportunity to play golf in a charity outing with several of the mechanical engineers. Although my golf game was far from my best, I really enjoyed my time getting to know them and learning a little bit about the mechanical side of things. As a smaller company, I was able to talk with and get to know a lot of the engineers here. I can honestly say that everyone has been incredibly kind and supportive throughout my internship. Even the President and Vice President often stopped by my desk to ask how I am and ensure I was continuously learning and enjoying my experience. Similarly, the electrical engineers made sure I knew they were there if I had any questions while making sure I felt included and appreciated. 

All-in-all, this internship has been exciting, challenging, and rewarding. I am grateful for the strong leadership and guidance, the real-world experience, and all the knowledge obtained during my internship at Tec. I can honestly say that it has been an incredible first experience in the field and I am unbelievably thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a great company.