August 30, 2022
Internships open students’ eyes to employment possibilities post-graduation.
Luke Sanders is a junior in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He conducted a summer internship with Black & Veatch.
We asked him a few questions about the experience.
Tell us about your internship at Black & Veatch. What’s your role and primary responsibility?
My title at BV is Construction Intern. I am currently working on a field assignment in a small town in upstate New York called Greenwood. The project I am working on is a wind farm that consists of 25 turbine sites over a very large portion of the county. My primary role on this project is to assist any of our site managers with their daily tasks. My most common task is performing inspections. Turbine foundation inspections include measurements of rebar and concrete form spacing as well as making sure that after the concrete is poured for the foundation, there are no cracks or other deficiencies that may affect the structural integrity of the foundation. I have also been inspecting turbine components (Tower Sections, Blades, Nacelle). These inspections are performed by making sure none of these fragile components have undergone any wear or tear on their way to the site. Any small deficiency in a turbine component may cause the lifespan of its respective turbine to be drastically reduced.
What’s a typical day like?
There really is no typical day for me because I am all over the place with our different site managers depending on the day.
How did Mizzou Engineering prepare you for this internship?
The main way Mizzou Engineering has prepared me for this internship is vocabulary. I’m not grinding out calculations by any means, but when it comes to vocab, I would be lost without the last couple of years in engineering school. My Strength of Materials class has definitely been the most applicable course to this internship.
What have you enjoyed most working at Black & Veatch so far?
What I have enjoyed most about BV is the culture. From everything I had heard about the company before this internship to everything I am witnessing daily, I am very impressed with how people inside the company carry themselves and ultimately – as employee owners – want the company to succeed. Employee ownership is a major topic of discussion within BV and everyone knows that when the company wins, we win. This helps everyone strive to do their best work, knowing that the longevity of Black & Veatch is in the best interest of all BV employees across the world.
What have you learned from your internship experience?
I have learned that field experience is invaluable when working your way up in the engineering field. This is especially true if you’re like me and don’t necessarily know what you want to do when you get out of engineering school.
What advice would you give other students wanting to have a similar internship experience?
Get out of your comfort zone. Take a field assignment in a small town in upstate New York that has a population of 800. I had the lowest of low expectations when I was assigned this position and I could not be more pleased with the experience I have had. The people I have met on this project have been absolutely phenomenal, and getting to explore a part of the country I probably never would have otherwise explored has made for a summer I will never forget.
Also, don’t be afraid to apply for internship positions that don’t necessarily line up with your major. My main reason for applying to a “Construction Intern” position was to get my foot in the door with a great company like Black & Veatch, but in the future, I would have no hesitation applying to another construction position because the on-site experience is just too valuable!
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