Paths of a CivE: Part 3/Me

Part 3 is me. Anyway like students 1&2 am a CivE and I am hoping to be in the Co-op program as well but I have a different path cut out for myself. I will be here over the summer for summer courses. I have signed a lease on my first apartment. I have begun taking classes in Economics for my Economics minor (something I wouldn’t have ever thought of before Lehigh) and I am involved with EWB and its project class (more on that in a future post). I am currently in CHOICE housing. I hope to move back to Connecticut with either my Co-op position  or future entry level position. I also blog, obviously.

So anyway, come to Lehigh and you can do anything you want. There are endless paths and I don’t think I know any two stories exactly alike here.


Paths of a CivE: Part 2

This is the second post of this blog. I am basically giving examples of the paths you can take at Lehigh!

Student 2 is also a CivE. His summer plans are similar to mine, but his other plans are not. He like me plans to be a co-op student. We have applied to the same jobs. But Lehigh has endless paths, we may intersect but no one’s life is the same.

Last summer he had an internship, which is much less common for sophomore students. This year he leads his own division of the steel bridge team where they design and build their own steel bridge for competition with other universities. This is their site if you were curious. http://lusteelbridge.com and he plans to live on campus and wants to stay in PA. He is also a semester ahead in classes and on the water polo team.


Paths of a CivE: Part 1

Lehigh is great because it is a gateway to many options. Anything you read on this blog or another Lehigh blog is just one option of many. Don’t get me wrong if you read about someone who studied abroad and you want to follow in their footsteps, that is completely possible. However when it comes to Lehigh they are limitless. Take my group of friends for example. I won’t name names so lets call them Student 1,2 and 3. Thing three doesn’t exist to Dr. Seuss but for the sake of the post, he/she/it does now. It is important to note that everyone following is in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department! I decided to split these into multiple blog posts because it would be ridiculously Long

Student 1 is a CivE like me. He takes all the same courses and what not, but his summer plans differ greatly from mine. He is starting his own research project on Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus. This is not normal for undergraduates, but at Lehigh these things are possible. He has a few professor’s backing and he will be paid healthily for his work. I believe he’s working on some kind of sustainable living on mars project. All his own creating, and all his own plan. If you are interested you can find more about it at http://www.lehigh.edu/mountaintop/proposals/index.html. Anyway Thing 1 lives in Rhode Island and is planning to become a writer on top of his CivE degree and Philosophy minor. Could see yourself doing this? Choose Lehigh CEE


Das Orchester

What’s fantastic about having this internship and basically living on campus is that I can still be involved in Lehigh activities.  For instance, the Lehigh Philharmonic Orchestra had a concerto concert this February where ambitious student musicians played orchestra-accompanied solo pieces.  Here are me and my fellow flute players, who, along with the rest of the orchestra, accompanied the prodigies that performed:

Orchy

I will absolutely miss orchestra when I go abroad.  Even though three hours a week is a heavy commitment, it is worth being able to rehearse amongst the violins and violas in Baker Hall.

Having not been in an orchestra until coming to Lehigh, I remember when I first heard everyone warming up on stage.  Not only was I ecstatic about making the cut, I was super intimidated because of how amazing everybody sounded.  But above all of these feelings, I felt so relieved that I was going to be a part of a musical organization for another four years of my life.  Playing in orchestra is the ultimate stress reliever (as long as you practice so you’re good enough to not be stressed during rehearsal) because the music kind of envelopes you like a giant supportive and comforting cloud.  I’ve definitely gained some insight into the world of classical music over these past three years too, in addition to learning from my uber talented peers.  This past fall, we played Symphony No. 7 by Shostakovich, which was basically the music-form diary of his survival in war-stricken Leningrad during WWII.  It’s really amazing learning the history of the composers whose pieces we play, because it gives you that much more attachment to the piece.

Hopefully in Freiburg, Germany during study abroad, even though I won’t be in an orchestra, I’ll still be able to play my flute!  I have this horrifying image of a native German rapping on my door, pointing to my flute, and sternly saying, “nein!”  So, we’ll see if I have the guts to try playing or not!


Co-op and Changing

Lehigh never ceases to amaze me with its ability to mold me into a marketable engineering student.

With freshman year I was able to make connections with professors, get used to living on my own, and organize my goals for the future. Last semester I was finally introduced to classes within the Civil Engineering Department. I got aquatinted with actual engineering education and put it to use in many group projects. This year is the most astounding yet in my development. Before this semester I couldn’t even fathom applying for jobs in the engineering field, I wasn’t quite sure how to create a resume, write a cover letter, or introduce myself to a potential employee, but the co-op program has changed all of that in 1 short month.

What is a co-op?

Co-op stands for cooperative education. The program at Lehigh consists of 2 work rotations (like internships) with the same company. The first rotation occurs in fall of your junior year. Instead of taking classes you work with the company you were hired by for 4 months. The second rotation occurs during the summer between junior and senior year. You are paid, receive excellent in-field experience, and credits towards your major.

Sounds Great, So Whats The Trouble….

You have to get hired. This is where I am right now. I was accepted into the Lehigh co-op program itself, but in order to participate I have to be hired by a company offering a co-op position. This involves applications, resumes, interviews, phone calls, and getting familiar with companies.

So back to how Lehigh has improved me this semester!

I haven’t secured a position yet, offers don’t come out until march. However, even if I am not able to acquire a job I am excited with my new skills. I’ve been to several resume critiques and my resume is now something I can be proud of! I’ve interviewed for  two positions already and after the first one my confidence level has tripled. I no longer tremble at the thought of an interview. Finally I now know where to look for jobs, how to appeal to employers, and the etiquette required in interviews, information sessions and so on. I feel like even if I don’t get a co-op that I am extremely prepared for the job market when I graduate. Something that only a place like Lehigh could allow me to achieve in a month!


From Lehigh to Harrisburg

View of the Lehigh Valley on my way to work @ Synergy.

View of the Lehigh Valley on my way to work @ Synergy.

My winter as a Lehigh student has been out of the ordinary compared to most.  Since my study abroad program starts at the end of February, I have an awkward two-month gap period where I am not in Lehigh classes and not yet studying in Freiburg, Germany (this is my abroad destination, scroll down to learn more about the awesome opportunity I have to go!). In this gap of time, since I don’t have to worry about school, I’m interning at Synergy Environmental Inc., an environmental engineering consulting company.

Interning here has exposed me to so much knowledge and understanding, not only in the technical realm, but in the world of business.  I will post more about those details in the days to come.  What I want to highlight today is my experience in Harrisburg at the Environmental Justice Advisory Board (EJAB) meeting.  My boss is on the board as an environmental engineer representative and joined by environmental lawyers, professors, industry representatives, environmental justice (EJ) community representatives, and members of the DEP.

IMG_4697

View of Harrisburg from DEP office.

The discussions that took place during this EJAB meeting revolved around EJ zones, established by the DEP, that need attention.  It was interesting witnessing the analysis of real-life ethical and environmental issues taking place in PA, like in Chester.  The fact that there are people worrying about problems like poor air quality in impoverished areas gives me hope for humanity.  I will say, however, that every member of the board is a member for a reason.  The reasons range from the more respectable, like having a keen interest in promoting ethical environmental practices, to the less respectable, like making the not quite eco-friendly company he/she represents look good.

IMG_4707

Behind me are past secretaries of the DEP.

A highlight of this adventure was that I got to meet the new secretary of the PA DEP, John Quigley.

Check back soon if you want to read more about my internship and soon-to-come adventures in Deutschland!

 


Construction Site Inspector

Hi all!

 

Over the last semester, I have been away from Lehigh on a co-op with Remington & Vernick Engineers. My rotation ended a few weeks ago and I cannot even begin to write how much I have learned from this experience. I have grown in technical aspects but I also gained valuable insight in areas I never considered prior to this co-op. For my next few blog posts, I will be talking about projects I have worked on. Hopefully, for all the prospective civil engineering majors out there, you can have an inside look on what a civil engineering company actually does from an intern’s perspective.

One of the best parts of my experience was that my company gave me opportunities to explore many areas of the industry. You see, as a civil engineer, there are many smaller positions and concentrations I can focus on. A little over a month in my co-op, my department head asked me to help the inspections department for a week.

Inspecting job on a bridge crossing the Delaware River

Inspecting job on a bridge crossing the Delaware River

Construction inspectors are vital in any engineering project. Inspectors are the bridge between the engineers, those who design the project, and the construction contractors, those who actually construct the project. The construction contractors are given plans from the design engineers, which the contractors will construct. The inspector must ensure that the contractors are conducting the construction in accordance with the plans created by the engineers. The job is actually more difficult than it sounds because plans created by the engineers are not always constructible. Sometimes the terrain and geography of the location makes a design, perfect on paper, impossible to construct. The inspector must direct the contractors when the project must differ from the designs.

My brief experience as a construction inspector was particularly difficult for me because for the first time, I am supposed to be watching and supervising contractors who are much more experienced than I am. To describe my nervousness, I repeated thought to myself was that I am supposed to be telling people, who knew my job better than myself, what to do. Like many problems I faced in my co-op rotation, there was no clear textbook answer on how to deal with this situation. In addition, I cannot pull the “I-am-an-intern” card because I need to have the contractors respect my role as the inspector (if they realized that I’m actually just a student intern, they probably would ignore anything I tell them)!

At the end, I resorted to being incredibly respectful to the contractors while keeping a close eye on the specifications and drawing plans I was given. It was definitely an experience outside of my comfort zone, but I learned a lot!

Had to make sure that concrete was at the right level.

Had to make sure that concrete was at the right level.


Mechanical Engineering

Official Blog of the Lehigh University Mechanical Engineers

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Civil and Environmental Engineers

The #LehighIDEAS Blog

Official blog of the Lehigh University IDEAS program

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Chemical Engineers

Lehigh Bioengineering Blog

Official Blog of the Lehigh University Bioengineers

Lehigh Electrical/Computer Engineering and Comp Sci

The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers. -Richard Hamming

First-Year Lehigh Engineers

Life as a Lehigh Engineer from the perspective of first-year students

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93 other followers