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Civil engineering major Makenna Brown describes her construction internship in Seattle

Makenna Brown is in a dual-degree program at Pacific where she is working on her Bachelor of Science and master’s degrees in civil engineering. She is getting hands-on experience in her field by working on a water tunnel project in Seattle, Washington. 

What a normal day looks like for me during my internship 

A normal day begins with a meeting of what tasks need to be completed, any safety concerns, and stretches. Then, I go to the office and do some admin tasks such as quantity takeoffs which are calculating how much material is needed on a site. Later, I head out to the field for a few hours where I oversee the work and do quality control. In the afternoon, I finish up tasks like writing the daily report of the progress of work on the site. 

What types of projects or assignments have I been able to work on with Lane Construction 

Lane Construction works on many projects around the country from highways to tunnels. I am working on the water quality project in Seattle where they’re building a storage tunnel for storm and sewer water since it rains most of the year here. Within this project, I have been mainly working on the micro tunnel that’ll be connecting to the main tunnel. I assist the field engineer and superintendent with calculations, writing reports, and purchase orders. Out in the field, I do quality control and learn by watching the subcontractors and laborers work. It’s exciting seeing contract drawings come to life! 

How University of the Pacific prepared me for this experience 

I think the courses have helped a lot, having prior knowledge allowed me to apply and extend what I know in the real world. Such as working with CAD drawings and understanding why certain materials are used. 

Why I came to University of the Pacific 

What drew me to Pacific was the blended program! Getting my master’s degree has always been a goal of mine growing up and after spending three years at San Joaquin Delta College, I didn’t think when I transferred to a university, I would still have the opportunity to obtain my master’s. I liked the fact that the classes were small and Dr. Saviz, Dr. Lee and Dr. Steimel have been a huge support with my transition to the school this last year. 

My favorite part of interning with Lane Construction 

My favorite part has been talking to different people, from the bosses to subcontractors. I think learning and understanding what they do has helped me comprehend what all goes into projects. 

My advice on making the most of an internship 

Ask as many questions as you can. You’re there to learn and everyone there knows that. They’re not expecting you to know everything.  

When I first got here, I was lost, they were just talking and throwing terms at me. Over time those terms became second nature to me because I would ask related questions and get a visualization on the site.  

Another thing, be as hands-on as possible and take on any challenges. It’s better to learn and progress and mess up now than later. I would ask for more tasks when I started to get my daily ones done quicker. I would also ask to be at different sites so I could extend my understanding of the project. 

2 thoughts on “Civil engineering major Makenna Brown describes her construction internship in Seattle”

  1. Congratulations on a successful summer internship with hands on experience. This experience will assist and guide you to a higher level of education in the field of engineering. Learn all you can from the men and women on the ground , because they are not often mention when the projects are completed.
    Great job.

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