Interns Gain Experience During a Tumultuous Summer

image description

Stephanie Buckingham

Organizational Development Coordinator

In a year of unexpected changes, cancelations and general uncertainty, Freese and Nichols’ 2020 summer interns (along with their groups!) adapted to the changes and created a memorable program.

Erin Ingram from the Fort Worth office said: “I knew so many people who lost their summer internships when COVID started up. … I was happy to find out that my group still wanted me on board! I felt super welcomed, and I was very pleasantly surprised with how flexible they were with me due to COVID concerns!”​​​​​​​

What did they work on?

Every year, our interns tell us that what they love about their internships is working on actual work. This year’s interns worked on projects such as creating 2-D hydraulic models using InfoWorks ICM, a statistical study over the Palmer Drought Severity Index and stream flows across the state, work in Revit to make changes to the electrical one-line and using AGi32 to perform lighting calculations.

“I have been looking through as-built files for lift stations and identifying some information to populate. … This includes mechanical, structural, electrical, construction and site plans,” Madeline Townsend from the Fort Worth office said. “This has been interesting and fun to do because I am getting to apply some knowledge from my classes last spring to a real-life scenario.”

What fun activities did they participate in?

In addition to the many projects the interns worked on, they also had fun! Intern leaders Baylee Beatty and Marissa Cole organized virtual game nights and virtual lunches for interns across the company. Some groups also planned fun events that interns were included in – mini golf, lunches and summer activities and brown bags about FNI’s different disciplines (coordinated by JB Ferguson). They also participated in FNU classes like Effective YPs, LinkedIn, Powerful Virtual Presentations and Virtual Intern Orientation. During Virtual Intern Orientation, they enjoyed a time to meet other interns, learn about what FNI does, hear about our unique culture and learn how to make the most of their internship. Also, during intern orientation, former FNI interns Corby Munsell, Nick Smaus and Jonathan Schwartzenberg stopped by to share their experiences and tips from their time as an FNI intern and now as full-time employees.

What did they say at the end of their internship?

In a survey at the end of the summer, the 2020 interns rated their intern experience higher than any other group of summer interns. They shared tons of great feedback, including:

  • How much they love the people they had a chance to work with: One intern shared a story about helpful coaching she received from Darpan Chorghe and how much she appreciated the time he spent helping her communicate professionally. When asked about their favorite summer memory, one intern simply said Dustin Mortensen!
  • The cool site visits they went on: One intern even had the opportunity to do a 300-mile trip around Oklahoma to fly a drone as a licensed drone pilot and take photos and videos of project sites.
  • The trust their leaders put in them: Some interns worked remotely and were impressed with how easy it was. Some were put on projects right away and were happy that they were trusted participate on projects.
  • Big shoutout to our Water Resources Design Group 1169 in Southeast Texas after an intern reported, “I was massively impressed by how well the 1169 group engages as a family and how genuinely passionate they are about their work.”

“Everyone is so welcoming and appreciative,” said Christian Douglas, a two-time summer intern from the Austin office. “I can see myself at FNI. I would love to work here.”

That’s what we want to hear! Thanks to everyone who helped give our interns a valuable experience, despite the unexpected challenges this year.

Be sure to check out our 2021 internship opportunities!

image description

Stephanie Buckingham, C.P.T.D., P.H.R., is the Organizational Development Coordinator in Fort Worth.