DCI Interns Are Closer to the Real Engineering Action

It’s always interesting to hear about the industry perspectives from our summer interns. Some learned more about the buildings in their hometown. Others collaborated with engineers based at other DCI office locations. At the end, all gained more confidence about becoming a future engineering professional. Read more about their internship takeaways:

Austin Dennis
Seattle University
Seattle Office

“During winter quarter of my junior year, I took an elective class in timber design taught by DCI Principal Dick Hemmen, so I became acquainted with DCI’s projects.

Since I began my internship at DCI, I have worked on design development and construction support for the Woodin Creek Village mixed-use residential/commercial complex, a lateral force-resisting system (LFRS) design for a mixed-use residential/commercial project, and a post-tensioned concrete slab design for the Aegis Overlake senior living community.

My classroom experiences have provided a basic framework and foundation for engineering that I can draw on, but they do not provide the whole picture. What I have learned from my coursework has been indispensable as a resource in engineering judgment, rather than a procedural guide to follow for structural design. I have been surprised by the amount of on-the-job learning and peer mentorship that DCI employees engage around the office. Collaboration is obviously necessary for any successful project, but DCI has set my expectations for teamwork much higher than I originally anticipated.”

Christos Boutsoras
University of California in San Diego
San Diego Office

“Working as a summer intern at DCI was a valuable experience. I took part in many different projects that gave me great insight into the life of a professional structural engineer. It is exciting when you have a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom with a real project. DCI gave me that chance for a variety of projects.

The atmosphere is great! I felt a part of the team from the very first day since everybody was helpful and friendly. The interaction with engineers from the other offices helped me learn how to collaborate remotely. Overall, I feel lucky and grateful for being a part of the DCI team this summer.”

Jason Cha
University of California in San Diego
San Diego Office

“My internship at DCI Engineers was truly rewarding because I was exposed to the different phases of building design. I was given many opportunities to work independently on design, but there was always an engineer willing to help me figure out a solution whenever I got stuck. There were many times when I was assigned to a project in an area where I had no prior experience. The engineers did not hesitate to give me a quick background on the project and a walkthrough of the steps I should take to finish designing a component of the building.

While my coursework has prepared me for the realities of working as a professional engineer, I believe that working at DCI has taught me how to take the theoretical and technical knowledge from school and how to ‘think like an engineer’ in real applications.”

Max Snook
California Polytechnic State University
San Diego Office

“Being an intern at DCI allowed me to experience what life would be like as a professional engineer. I have lived in San Diego my entire life - so it feels good to be part of the city’s development. It is so amazing to see my work go into a building that will be used by people for generations. From our downtown office, I can see at least four buildings that are under construction that I worked on – and I cannot wait to see them when they are finished.

Two years ago, a representative from DCI’s San Francisco office came to visit a CalPoly Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) student chapter meeting and introduced us to a new housing development they were designing for the school. Coincidently, one of my internship assignments was designing the columns and foundations for a housing development at the University of California at Irvine (UCI).

While interning here, I have worked on many amazing projects and I am proud that my work will come to life.”

Zach Cuddihy
University of Alaska Anchorage
Anchorage Office

“My summer internship at DCI has been an invaluable experience and instrumental in my growth as a young engineer. I have expanded my knowledge on all the concepts I learned throughout my undergrad studies by applying them in many different situations. The big difference was learning all the phases of a project that are necessary to complete it.

As I look back on my internship, I feel that I have developed many tools and skills I need to be a successful structural engineer. I believe I will get more out of graduate school having seen the practical applications. In all, this internship with DCI has exceeded all my expectations and I’m glad I was afforded the opportunity to work in the Anchorage office this summer.”

Read more excerpts from previous DCI interns from 2016 and 2015. Some returned as full-time employees!

About the author

Rose Bechtold

Rose Bechtold, Communications Specialist | Rose comes from a journalism and technical writing background. She is in her element while in research mode and naturally immerses herself in expert knowledge by interviewing staff members about new subjects. In her spare time, Rose practices plein-air sketching of buildings and random scenes around town.

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