Carnegie Mellon University
September 21, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Building the Attractions at Universal Orlando

Behind the Scenes: Building the Attractions at Universal Orlando Behind the Scenes: Building the Attractions at Universal Orlando

Masters student Nairiti Singh (MS ’16) spent this summer at an exciting internship assisting a project engineer at Universal Studios, where she worked on two new attractions. 

CEE: Tell us about the work you were doing in Orlando.

I worked on the construction team for two upcoming attractions: Fast and Furious: Supercharged and Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.

I was working under a project engineer and I shared her work and responsibilities, which mostly involved dealing with documentation. One of my duties was to get paperwork from the general contractor and route it to the entire team, and it if it didn’t get approved I had to route it back to the contractor for changes.

I was also tasked to organize a turnover meeting with the contractor.

In a turnover meeting, the owner and the contractor go over all the deliverables that were listed in the contract to see what has been completed and what still has to be done. That ensures that everyone understands the status of the project and what the remaining expectations are.

I also used an app called NoteVault, which is a daily reporting app that is accessible to everyone in the company.

Every day I would go out to the site, take pictures of the site, describe the status of the contractor’s work, and upload it to the app. This allowed everyone who couldn’t come out to the site to still see what was going on and make sure the work was being properly implemented.

CEE: What was your favorite part of the experience?

Every day I walked through the part to get to my office and I got to see everything when the park was quiet and they’re just testing the rides. Ith was a great feeling.

My team was also really great. My cubicle mate was very helpful and taught me everything I needed to know, and made a guide for me to explain all the abbreviations that the team uses.

This was my first full-time work experience, and it’s a large company so I was pretty scared, but it wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. The project is complicated, but my team all made the work look really simple.

They made me realize that you don’t have to worry about every part of a project—you just have to focus on your work and get it done so that you can pass the project along to the next person.

CEE: Did any particular CEE classes help to prepare you for this internship?

Project Management for Construction with Professor Burcu Akinci helped me know what to expect when working on a construction project.

Engineering Economics with Professor Matteo Pozzi helped me understand the math and the numbers that go behind these projects.

Also, BIM for Engineering, Construction and Facility Management taught me about all the software used in these types of projects, which was very helpful.

CEE: Did this experience influence your career goals?

Definitely. Before this internship, I knew that construction management was the industry I wanted to go into, but I didn’t know what position I wanted the most.

After coming here and working on document management, I realized that that’s what I want to do, because it involves communicating with everyone involved in a project. My internship showed me that there are a lot of issues of interoperability in construction, which can cause a lot of inefficiencies.

Time and money are the main things that you lose on a construction project and if you lose those it’s a huge deal, so I would like to be able to focus on fixing those issues.