Interning in the time of Coronavirus

Every year Degenkolb Engineers invites aspiring structural engineers to join us as interns for the summer. It is a rewarding experience for everyone involved. The interns get a chance to apply what they have learned in school to a real world setting, while our engineers get to pass on their knowledge to those entering the field. This year, all of our interns worked fully remote as we continue working during the Coronavirus pandemic. We wanted to hear how it was going for them, completing an internship without ever setting foot in an office. This is the first installment of our intern interviews.

Eden Wong

Where are you attending school and what year are you in?

I just graduated from UC San Diego in June and will be heading to UC Berkeley in the fall for my Master’s.

Why structural engineering?

I’ve always been a curious person that loves asking questions. With structural engineering, I never run out of questions. And, with each mystery I solve, I find myself more and more fascinated by structures. Structural engineering also allows me to exercise creative thinking while making a positive impact in the community.

How did you find out about Degenkolb?

All of my favorite TAs from UCSD work at Degenkolb in various offices. I wanted to surround myself with people like them, that encourage and challenge me to grow as an engineer.

What has your experience so far been like at Degenkolb?

I find myself facing new problems and challenges every day that give me an opportunity to grow. This pushes me out of my comfort zone, but everyone is approachable, patient, and glad to help whenever I have questions. The engineers I’ve worked with are more than happy to spend extra time to pass down their knowledge to me. One of the most enjoyable parts of my internship is hearing about their experiences and lessons learned on other projects.

What does a remote internship look like for you at Degenkolb?

I’m living in my childhood home in Rowland Heights. Working remotely has its perks (like saving me 2 hrs/day on commute time), but I still wish I could meet everyone in-person!

If you could give any future interns advice on how to get the most out of interning with Degenkolb what would it be?

Embrace your curiosity. Dig deeper so that you understand problems and their solutions thoroughly. Ask yourselves and others lots of questions because it’s the best way to learn.

Describe your ideal day off?

Going for an early hike with friends, followed by lunch at WingStop. Stopping for boba on the way home, then spending the rest of the day watching Netflix together. Ending the night with spicy hot pot for dinner.

Lauren Posey

Where are you attending school and what year are you in?

I graduated from UCLA and will be starting my master’s program at UC Berkeley this Fall.

Why structural engineering?

I developed an interest of how things are built from growing up watching my dad take apart and rebuild things, from his cars to sections of our house. I love following a project progress from design to construction, and I enjoy the challenge of new projects.

How did you find out about Degenkolb?

They attended all the UCLA career fairs.

What has your experience so far been like at Degenkolb?

It was difficult at first getting adjusted to a remote internship, but once I realized how eager my coworkers were to help me out through constant messages and phone calls, it became much easier. Everyone constantly checked in to make sure I had enough projects to work on, and they always encouraged me to learn and try new types of projects.

What does a remote internship look like for you at Degenkolb?

Lots of phone calls to ask questions and connect with people!

If you could give any future interns advice on how to get the most out of interning with Degenkolb what would it be?

Reach out to people as much as possible (especially in a remote environment) to ask questions and get to know your coworkers. Try to take on a variety of different projects to learn as much as you can, especially if it’s something you’ve never been exposed to in your coursework.

Describe your ideal day off?

I love to explore new places and exercise. My favorite hobbies are traveling, hiking, and going to the gym!

Valentina Couse-Baker

Where are you attending school and what year are you in?

I got my B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from UC Davis. For Fall 2020, I will be in my last quarter of my M.S. Structural Engineering degree at UC San Diego.

Why structural engineering?

The statics and the principles of structural engineering felt intuitive to me during undergrad and I appreciate being able to see and touch the work I’m doing.

How did you find out about Degenkolb?

I first heard of Degenkolb after engineers from the San Diego office presented for a graduate seminary series at UCSD.

What has your experience so far been like at Degenkolb?

Very friendly and very welcoming. Everyone that I’ve met has been happy to talk about what they do and happy to teach me what I need to know and more. I got to work with programs, like ENERCALC, Risa, and CalcSet, for the first time and got to work on a variety of projects that I have not before.

What does a remote internship look like for you at Degenkolb?

After breakfast, I take a very short commute to the third bedroom (previously dubbed the fish/pet/miscellaneous room, now dubbed “the office” after I took up residence there) where my desk and second monitor is located. After reaching out over Teams to my colleagues and touching base, I’ll spend the day working on a variety of projects from RCN work to Revit drafting to lateral calculations. Depending on the day, I’ll attend a remote “stretch time” where I socialize with the other engineers.

If you could give any future interns advice on how to get the most out of interning with Degenkolb what would it be?

Take notes. Ask questions. Ask yourself if you need that calculation. Ask people about their projects.  The people you’ll be working with have a variety of expertise and interests, each one is happy to let you in on what they do.

Describe your ideal day off?

Autumn/Winter. Its foggy, overcast, slight breeze, and chilly outside. Perfect sweater weather. Ideally raining while I’m cozy inside, but not before I’m able to go for a chilly morning walk to the bakery a few blocks from my apartment. I’ll have previously made plans to see my friends, probably brunch or to play board games or to watch a bad movie, but not something that takes up the entire day. I’ll spend the remainder of the time enjoying not needing to be anywhere.