By Jamie Holter
One of the highlights of summer 2021 was the restart of the King County Road Services Summer Internship Program that was put on hold in 2012 due to the economic downturn. This year, we welcomed six local undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in Engineering and Public Administration into our paid internship program.
The 13-week program places interns in the field and in the office. In the field, they worked and learned alongside engineers from every part of Road Services: bridge and structures, traffic, drainage environmental; and project delivery team.
Others worked remotely supporting project work, reviewing road design, checking plans, and supporting teams.
Intern Tori Shaw, who is pursuing a master’s degree at the UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, worked with the Road Services’ Capital Improvement Project Delivery Office to evaluate our work processes and suggest improvements to help us be more efficient. Tori said King County’s commitment to prioritizing Equity and Social Justice and improving quality of life outcomes for those in Unincorporated King County was key in her decision to choose King County over other internships.
“During the summer, I had the opportunity to engage with a diverse team and witness firsthand the important work at Road Services to provide and maintain vital links for people across the county,” said Tori.
Many of our interns got their feet wet, literally, as they tramped through streams with their engineering mentors to examine the underside of bridges to make sure they are safe.
Several bridges they visited are currently under construction or about to be under construction such as the Upper Tokul Creek Bridge.
Other days, they spent time in the shop learning from long-time career employees.
“I learned a lot more than I ever could in school,” said Arthur Semionov who is interested in road design work and is currently enrolled in the Graduate Program in Transportation Engineering at UW . “I worked with a helpful and passionate team.”
With this internship program, it isn’t enough to learn and do. The expectation is that interns can also communicate clearly and accurately. At the end of the 13 weeks, they presented their summer learnings and experiences to King County staff, engineers, and managers.
Intern Tom Andrews looks back on his on-site experiences at the S. 277th Street Bridge Replacement project and said that it was great to see the level of care taken to maintain clean water in a muddy slough. He also enjoyed seeing actual survey tools and compaction machines that he had learned about at UW used on a real project.
The program delivers hands-on experience to (we hope!) our future employees. King County government has so many opportunities. Our goal is to show these students that public service and public sector work is interesting, engaging, and rewarding.
Several Road Services employees, including County Road Engineer JoAnn Kosai-Eng got their start as an intern!
Become an intern!
Road Services plans a summer 2022 internship program for Undergraduate and Graduate-level students. Look for information in April 2022 and check out the website for more information about careers at King County.