Reflections From a TREKK Intern

Isabelle Frankel, a rising junior at Kansas State University, was one of two TREKK 2018 interns. Here, Isabelle reflects on her internship and the skills she gained during her time with TREKK. 

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 included in the transportation team. I was invited to a lot of important meetings; at the beginning I would go and I didn’t have a clue what we were talking about sometimes. But, I was able to observe good communication skills that are essential to a successful team. I learned how work is delegated when you have a big project to do. This internship let me see how things go from an idea on a scrap of paper to a final plan that improves our infrastructure.

I was also introduced to outside organizations that have allowed me to network and meet new people with experience in the field. Within the first few days of work I was taken to the American Public Works Association luncheon and got to see engineers from different municipalities and consulting firms. There was also a great speaker who talked about the importance of public works and how we can do our jobs successfully. This was a great way to start the summer because it reminded me of why we’re all here: to ultimately help others and make the world a better place. I was also invited to other social organizations where I was able to meet some very successful people and use them as role models when thinking about my future career.

This internship solidified my interest in road design and transportation engineering and I’m excited to see where this takes me next. I’m so grateful for all of the people here who made teaching me a priority and helped me feel at home.