Civil and Environmental Engineering Internship Story: Infrastructure Engineering, Inc.


Graham Kaplowitz

Civil and Environmental Engineering

What company did you intern with and where are they located?

During the summer of 2023, I interned with Infrastructure Engineering, Inc. (IEI) in Chicago, Illinois. IEI has several offices across the midwest and northeast.

How did you identify and apply for your internship? Are there any specific resources you used to find the opportunity (i.e. Handshake, career fairs, other recruitment events)?

I found this internship through a LinkedIn job search. After hearing back from the team at IEI in Chicago, I had an online interview and was made an offer shortly thereafter.

What was the application process like?

I filled out an application through IEI's website, which asked for the standard application information (work experience, resume, cover letter, etc.). After applying, IEI got back to me shortly to request an interview. In my interview, I spoke with my future supervisor (a project engineer) as well as two members of the construction and HR teams in Chicago.

Tell us about your internship experience. What types of tasks and projects did you engage in? Was there a particular project or part of the experience you learned the most from?

 The interns at IEI worked for a project called C*NECT, a joint venture team between IEI and CivilTech Engineering which works with the City of Chicago in an effort to improve Chicago neighborhood infrastructure. C*NECT receives many projects from the city, but my fellow interns and I worked exclusively on the drainage improvement projects. After receiving a project from the city, a surveying team would go out in the field and survey the area in need of improvement to obtain data regarding different elevations and conditions at the site. These surveying notes would then be sent to us to be analyzed. We would use this data in conjunction with field images to identify the issue that was preventing proper drainage. Next, we would design an improvement that complied with all CDOT codes for neighborhood infrastructure (e.g. cross-slope for sidewalk must not exceed 1.5%). We would create a thorough technical design and submit it to our supervisor for review. The process of submittal, review, and revision would be repeated one to three times before final submittal of the design.

We had the opportunity to learn about other major projects in the company and were able to visit a construction site to gain a well-rounded understanding of the work done at IEI.

I definitely learned the most from working in MicroStation and creating these technical designs. I learned how to analyze an issue and track down the root cause of it, enabling me to gain a full understanding of what exactly needed to be fixed. At this point, I was capable of providing a proper solution.

In what ways did this internship help you prepare for your next destination after Auburn?

This experience helped prepare me for my next destination because I gained problem-solving skills and experience analyzing problems and designing solutions independently.

The projects I was given were solely my own. After being provided with field data, it was my sole responsibility to design and deliver a thorough, suitable solution. This provided valuable experience thinking for myself and solving problems independently.

In what ways did your coursework or other experiences at Auburn prepare you for your internships? Are there specific topics or skills you learned from classes that you put into practice on the job?

My coursework prepared me by training me to be thorough and attentive in my work. The projects I worked on involved many minute details regarding elevation data, so I was forced to look at the whole scope of the project to design the appropriate solution.

I felt equipped to deliver solutions that fit all the puzzle pieces of each project together. I used my knowledge and practice from CE Analysis to create a detailed spreadsheet that aided in my calculations and made the process much more efficient.

Do you have any advice for other students looking for internships like yours?

I would advise others to seek opportunities that will provide you with a well-rounded industry experience prior to graduation. I am still gaining these experiences, and they have helped shape my plans and goals for entering the workforce after college. I have learned, and continue to learn, what I do and don't enjoy doing at work.