Hayden Rogers, a senior in civil and environmental engineering, interned in summer 2022 for the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration in the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division. He shares the experience he gained and the benefits he felt for his engineering plans and goals.
I worked out of the Tupelo, Mississippi, field office on Natchez Trace, and was assigned to NATR 2A18, a 40-mile mega-project spanning from Mississippi to Alabama. My responsibilities include becoming familiar with the project contract/plans/FHWA FP-14/project site and ultimately noticing when a task or item was incorrect and did not meet specifications.
I also completed daily inspectors reports (IDRs) documenting all the issues, which were then placed in the project documents. I worked on creating punch lists for work that still needed to be completed and independent government estimates (IGEs) for some of the contract modifications—to compare to the contractor’s estimates.
Additionally, I compiled prices for materials/labor/equipment, estimating the time and mobilization needed to complete the activity. I would take and gather photos of the existing work and terrain while performing detailed calculations.
The most notable benefit I received from this rotation is the ability to see how a project can go from a scope to a (nearly) finished product. I feel it is invaluable that I completed the survey internship in my last rotation as this serves as a basis for civil engineering.
Being able to go from the preliminary planning stage to boots on the ground and seeing a nearly finished product, while also having a hand in it, gave me a well-rounded idea of the civil engineering profession. It also solidified that this is the right major and career path for me! I highly encourage any student to look into an internship assignment.