Learning on the Job
Several New York office interns get a lesson in advanced computational modeling. Pictured are (back) Intern Barry Beagen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Vice President Rob Otani; (front) Gloria Blaise, New York City School Construction Authority high school intern; Intern Jenniffer Feliz, Columbia University; Director of Advanced Computational Modeling Jonatan Schumacher; and Intern Jason Andrew, University of Southern California. Photo by Vakaris Renetskis.
As a serious soccer fan and a structural engineering student, Humberto Estevez hopes to one day design a stadium that will host the FIFA World Cup. Estevez, who begins the master’s degree program at the University of Miami this fall, gave that career goal a kick start this summer through an internship in Thornton Tomasetti’s Fort Lauderdale office. Over the course of the two-month program, Estevez will gain some valuable hands-on experience, including working on a roof concept for Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Estevez is among more than 50 students in 10 U.S. and two international offices serving summer internships at Thornton Tomasetti. Although most summer interns are engineering and architecture students, the firm also hosts students in other fields, such as information technology and accounting and finance.
Students tend to be master’s degree candidates or have completed their junior undergraduate year. They come from such universities as Columbia University, Purdue University, Villanova University, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and University of California-Irvine. Many of our summer interns have come back to the firm as full-time employees. President Bob DeScenza began his career at Thornton Tomasetti as a summer intern, when he was an engineering student at The Cooper Union in New York City.
London Senior Engineer Philippa Bennett and Intern Si Min Lee, Cambridge University. Photo by Dziugas Reneckis.The summer internship program is one of several student outreach programs at the firm. We also have year-round internships, international exchanges, co-op opportunities as well as programs geared toward students at the high school level. In our Chicago office, for instance, Cedric Nixon, a recent graduate from King High School, is serving an ACE Mentor internship. Nixon will be helping out with various tasks until he leaves for the University of Missouri in August. Our New York office is hosting two students from the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) for six weeks. High school seniors Alpha Barry, who has a career interest in architecture, and Gloria Blaise, who is interested in electrical engineering, are working with Manager of Office Services Dorian Soler, himself a graduate of the SCA program.
“Summer internships benefit everyone involved,” Human Resources Director John Fairbairn said. “Students learn marketable skills and are exposed to real-world work problems, and the professionals they work with get help with projects and develop mentorship skills. Talented former interns have been hired as entry-level engineers and architects in Thornton Tomasetti offices around the globe.”
In addition to various design projects, Estevez has been involved in Building Performance work and going on site visits. “I’ve learned a great deal about drafting techniques, common design practices and how to use the wide array of tools and software programs available at Thornton Tomasetti,” Estevez, who graduated in May from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, said. “I have become much more proficient in ETABS and Revit.”
Mumbai Intern Sushant Maheshwari, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Associate Kaushik Dutta.As a Building Sustainability intern in the New York office, Jenniffer Feliz has been collecting data for Thornton Tomasetti’s carbon calculator that determines the embodied energy of a project. It is part of the firm’s AIA 2030 commitment toward carbon-neutral buildings. Feliz, a senior in Columbia University’s civil engineering program, intends on using her engineering skills and interest in green building design to create sustainable solutions for developing communities.
“I have learned a lot about the immediate benefit that a reduction in carbon emissions from building materials can have on the environment,” Feliz said. “During my internship, I’ve also gained exposure to the design of different types of structures, including supertalls like Kingdom Tower. Overall, it has been a very rewarding experience.”
Looking over some drawings in the Chicago office are Intern Ivan Martynenko, Valparaiso University, Building Information Modeler Rafael Tarrol, Intern Kyle Vansice, Iowa State University, and Intern Donald Colonna, Milwaukee School of Engineering. Photo by Stacey Milch.Just a few weeks into his internship with the Building Structure team in Oakland, Alexander Avellone has gotten on-the-job project experience across several market sectors, such as education, commercial and healthcare.
Avellone recently graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering. He will be returning to UC Davis this fall to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering. He aspires to own a design firm with his twin brother, who recently received a bachelor’s degree in architecture. (And yes, the two are quite competitive, which isn’t unheard of among architects and engineers).
“This internship has been a great learning experience,” Avellone said. “Because of it, I am even more excited to continue my education in the engineering field.”