The following is Wakil's description of his experience:
This summer I am fortunate enough to intern for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). New York's MTA is the largest public transit corporation in the United States which serves customers with various transportation needs in downstate New York as well as parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.
The MTA consists of numerous subsidiaries:
MTA New York City Transit (Subway)
MTA Bus Company
MTA Long Island Railroad (LIRR)
MTA Metro-North Railroad (MNR)
MTA Bridges and Tunnels
MTA Capital Construction
Altogether, the corporation serves an average of ten million customers a weekday!
I am specifically working for Metro-North, America's busiest commuter rail system behind Long Island Railroad. MNR runs nearly a thousand miles of track on five rail lines. East of the Hudson River, the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines provide riders access to and from Poughkeepsie, Wassaic, and New Haven, respectively, and everywhere in between. All three of these lines dock out of the infamous Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. West of the Hudson River, the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines provide riders access to and from New Jersey's Hoboken Terminal to stations in Rockland and Orange counties.
My position lies within the Capital Programs department as a Construction Management Intern. My department primarily focuses on improvements to existing infrastructure. The projects I'm assigned to are the station enhancements of the White Plains and Portchester train stations as well as a bridge replacement nearby the Southeast train station. As a CM intern, my role is to oversee the planning, progress, construction, and safety at these job sites. Some tasks in regards to this are daily construction logs, weekly safety audits, weekly progress reports, request for informations (RFI), and numerous progress/coordination meetings. Personally, my main task is to thoroughly observe what the contractors are doing and learn as much as I can about construction methods.
I really enjoy how my job is 90% of the time outside, whether in the field or travelling. This not only allows every day to contain something different, but really makes the days go by fast. I'm not exaggerating when I say some work days have gone by faster than one of Ravi's lectures. Also, you can graduate with years of design classes and then sit in a office for the rest of your life, but seeing plans come to life really is a remarkable experience which every civil engineer should see.
This internship and civil engineering discipline requires more communication than I could have imagined. From the numerous departments, contractors, federal agencies, and customers, I have to face them all. I am slowly but surely learning I cannot be reluctant to approach someone I have never met to ask them a question or confront them on a safety issue.
Tips for those interested in construction management:
ASK QUESTIONS. I can't stress this enough; you won't learn if you don't ask about what you're looking at. You may sound stupid, but that's okay. Everyone starts from somewhere.
Take EAS360 (STEM Communcations) seriously. The construction field contains a lot of different characters. You will meet people who are rude, egotistic, and stubborn. You have to learn how to adjust to others' personalities.
Safety is the #1 priority. Show your coworkers and bosses that you understand and emphasize the important of safety. Especially in construction, you must be ready to confront others if they're not following safe procedures, even if they "have been doing it for years."
Put in what you want out of it. The biggest thing I've learned these past two summers is that after you receive an internship offer, you're not done. The benefits and experience won't come flying towards you when you step foot into that office. There will be times when you're bored with nothing to do and unsure of who to talk to. This is where I've had to leave my comfort zone and introduce myself to a fellow employee or strike up a conversation with someone with a lot more experience than me about a project topic I have very little knowledge about. Keep yourself busy and always express interest. This won't go unnoticed although you may think so.
If you are interested in being UB ASCE's Featured Intern or Researcher, click here.