Reflections From a TREKK Intern

    Isabelle Frankel, a rising junior at Kansas State University, was one of two TREKK interns this summer. Here, Isabelle reflects on her internship and the skills she’s gained over the past three months.  After three months of interning at TREKK’s Kansas City office, I can now look back at how I spent my summer and reflect on the many valuable skills I’ve gained. I’m about to start my junior year at K-State, studying civil engineering. At the beginning of the summer I joined the transportation team, looking to learn about roadway design and how business operates at an engineering firm. Along with this knowledge, I also found great mentors and role models. When I started here, I was welcomed and began learning design skills on MicroStation. I remember being shocked at how much I was able to learn so quickly. This was largely due to the helpful guidance from others. The people here focused on giving me work that would challenge me and give me insight that will be important in my future. I’m also glad I was thrown right into the work and, therefore, was able to figure things out through trial and error. I found the best way to complete tasks and explore different possible solutions. I was able to learn things more deeply and retain the information. TREKK also did multiple learning seminars for our team that showed me how much this company cares about expanding their employee’s knowledge. Something that is difficult to teach in a lecture hall is the inner workings of a design team. While I was here, I felt very...
Finding the Forest

Finding the Forest

Finding the Forest In my career, it’s sometimes difficult to “see the forest for the trees.” As an Engineering Technician, I am typically in front of my computer, configuring the details of a plan set that a contractor will be able to read, use and, eventually, build and make a reality. I am continuously focused on the minute details of the coordinates of “proposed” versus “existing” infrastructure, ensuring that the elevations of specific items are correct, and that we have specific notes, detailed diagrams and the area data covered correctly. Through all of these details, it is easy to forget that every project I touch improves communities, lives and the wellbeing of individuals everywhere. I had the good fortune to be reminded of this recently. I’m part of a small team currently working on a project with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to design and coordinate the rehabilitation of 20 bus stops throughout the greater Kansas City area. The bulk of the design has been balanced between Mike Shirk as the Project Manager and Engineer and me as Engineering Technician, with the assistance of Brooks Taylor, another Engineering Technician, and our highly-skilled GIS Team. Mike has been wonderful in empowering me to take a lead in the design and helped me through the process. At first, I struggled with this project and its simplicity. I found myself wanting and needing my coordinates and elevations, my multitudes of details, and struggling to design what I thought was just a simple concrete pad. It was during a field check with Mike that the importance of this project set in. We...