Thornton Tomasetti President and former intern Bob DeScenza (third from left) with 2014 interns (from left) Brielle Calicchio, Jake Grogan, Jonathan Tavarez, Muhammad Hassan, Sunai Kim and Michael Monroe. Photo by Vakaris Renetskis.
Like many college students, Michael Monroe spent his summer vacation gaining valuable on-the-job experience in his field of study. Michael, who is pursuing a master’s degree in architecture from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, began an internship in May with Thornton Tomasetti’s Façade Engineering group in New York. And while Michael has gained exposure to new skills and a professional work environment, the firm has gained a capable and enthusiastic member of the team.
“It has been a tremendous learning experience,” Michael said. In fact, Michael’s internship worked out so well that it has been extended, on a part-time basis, through the end of the fall semester.
In 2014, Thornton Tomasetti employed 119 interns, of which 65 were involved in the summer program, across 17 different offices. Interns usually range from undergraduates going into their senior year to graduate students working toward master’s or Ph.D. degrees. Most of our interns are top students recommended by university faculty. Occasionally we will post internship opportunities on ThorntonTomasetti.com or a university’s career center website.
“Interns get the opportunity to learn about themselves and expand their knowledge while bringing new perspectives to the table that we can all learn from,” Senior Human Resources Coordinator Alexis Hertzog, who was involved with the 2014 summer program, said. “The diversity of our intern population exposes everyone in the firm to new cultures and ways of doing things.”
Thornton Tomasetti understands the mutual benefit of the employer-intern relationship and has long had a thriving internship program. The summer internship program is one of several student outreach programs at the firm. We also have longer-term internships, international exchanges, co-op opportunities as well as programs geared toward students at the high school level. Many former interns have been rehired as full-time employees upon completing their education. In fact, the firm has added eight former interns to the full-time payroll in the past two months. And there’s plenty of room for advancement—just look at President Bob DeScenza, who started as an intern while he was an engineering student at The Cooper Union in New York City. Other former interns include Managing Principal Mike Squarzini, Associate Principal Dorian Soler and Vice President Jeff Callow.
For Michael Monroe, his internship with Thornton Tomasetti has proven to be invaluable. Over the past few weeks, the design intern, who is in his last year of grad school, has analyzed outrigger deflections and conducted thermal analysis on a range of curtain wall assemblies, including for a Porsche facility, a landmark office tower and the Cornell Upson Hall recladding, all located in New York. “I’ve been able to draw upon my undergraduate engineering background, professional work experience, and my current master’s degree studies while working on a variety of different projects,” he said. “It’s also been great working with the Building Skin team when I have any questions or need a second set of eyes.”
The opportunity to learn new design software while working on actual projects is giving Michael valuable experience that isn’t found in the classroom. “One of my favorite things about working here has been utilizing the analysis software the Building Skin team uses to examine different aspects of ongoing projects,” he said. “I’ve used Window and Therm to build curtain wall assemblies and calculated U-factors and SHGC’s (solar heat gain coefficients) to run against the New York City Building Code with COMCheck. I’ve also used Strand 7 to design and analyze storefront mullions and MEPLA to make sure that insulated glass units can stand up to external loading.”
Chicago interns take a day trip to Malcolm X City College, for which Thornton Tomasetti is providing Building Skin and Building Structure services. Pictured are (back, from left) Alex Lakocy, Senior Project Engineer Lee Fritz, Engineer Andrew Pollastrini, Michael Manhard, Alex Rasky, (front) Engineer Kate Fogarty, Aishwarya Puranam, Taylor Dodson and Jingyu Lee.
From working behind a desk to being out in the field, Caroline Andress used her time in the Washington, D.C. office to take in the engineering profession from different perspectives. The rising senior at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, is on track to graduate with a degree in physics and engineering. “When looking back on this summer, the first thing I will remember are the site visits,” Caroline said. These included a tour of a metro DC manufacturing facility, for which we are providing forensic services. “Investigating a vibrating concrete slab in person exposed me to another side of engineering. It made what we design on paper or a computer in the office much more real.”
When not out on site, Caroline worked on improving her Revit proficiency and could be found navigating her way through shop drawings. “My experience here has taught me that education should never stop with school,” she said. “I saw coworkers overcome obstacles every day by pulling out old binders and applying past experiences to new challenges. It’s a great lesson to take into any profession, not just engineering.”
One of Dennis Ruan’s responsibilities as a marketing intern in the Los Angeles office was to conduct project research for the firm. Photo by Kelly Koscielny.
For Michael Manhard, an engineering intern in the Structural Engineering practice in Chicago, spending a summer with Thornton Tomasetti means moving one step closer toward his dream job. “As a five-year-old, I was so interested in the idea of design and construction that I actually snuck onto a residential construction site to see what was going on,” Michael said. “Unfortunately, I ended up with a nasty scar from a collision with a piece of equipment, but it did nothing to hinder my passion for engineering.” Now a rising senior at Princeton University in New Jersey, Michael said that the decision to major in engineering was one of the simplest he’s ever made.
Like many of our interns, Michael had a hand in a range of projects spread across several locations. This summer he had the opportunity to work on Hudson Yards in New York, University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City and the Northwestern University Medical Research Center in the Windy City. “I would love to one day be involved with a project from concept design to its public opening,” he said. “The experience I’ve had here has me better equipped to do just that.”
Chicago interns get together for a group shot before returning to classes for the fall semester. Pictured, from left, are Taylor Dodson, Jingyu Lee, Michael Manhard, Leslie Bonthron, Hailey Arterburn and Mayren Mata.
Although most interns are studying engineering or architecture, the firm has also hired students majoring in other fields, such as accounting and finance or marketing. Even communications majors have found a place in Thornton Tomasetti’s internship program. I joined the firm’s New York office as a rising junior at Fordham University in Bronx, New York with a major in journalism. My duties included interviewing co-workers from across the globe, doing write-ups on projects ranging from skyscrapers to stadiums and creating profiles of the firm’s new hires for Skyline, the firm’s intranet. I also worked on pieces for our social media channels and for ThorntonTomasetti.com.
My experience here has been valuable in a number of ways. Learning how to communicate with others in a professional setting, applying your field of study to a related (or unrelated) industry and developing habits and tendencies based on the examples set by seasoned veterans are all lessons that prepare you for what’s ahead. I feel as though I have become a stronger candidate for academic success and future career growth because of my time with Thornton Tomasetti.
— Jake Grogan, Intern
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