Carnegie Mellon University
September 16, 2016

Constructing Opportunities with CMU Connections and the TOC

Constructing Opportunities with CMU Connections and the TOC

Senior Connor Smith (CEE '17) used his networking and interviewing skills to land a summer internship and spent his summer internship with Clark Construction. He recently spoke to CEE about the work he was doing and provided some advice for other CMU undergraduates on getting summer internships.

CEE: Tell us more about the work you did this summer at your internship.

I was working with Clark Construction on a new ballroom facility for the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in the National Harbor, Maryland.

Half of my work was doing project management work, like tracking materials, routing paperwork, and coordinating different trades. I also worked on field surveying and field engineering, so I’d go out with the field engineer and check out the work being done.

CEE: How did you find out about this internship?

I had a friend who graduated from CMU and went to go work at Clark, so I already knew about Clark through them.

I talked to Clark recruiter at the TOC, who was also a CEE alum.  She gave me her card and once I applied for the internship and followed up with her. After a second rounds of interviews,  I got hired.

CEE: Were there any particular CEE classes you felt helped you prepare for the work you were doing?

My lab classes, like Materials Lab with Professor Sarah Christian and Solids Lab with Professor Jim Thompson, taught me concepts and tests to look out for.

When concrete was poured or different materials were tested on site, I could relate that to what I’d experienced in my labs because a lot of it was the same.

CEE: What was your favorite part of the experience?

My whole team was so supportive and always wanted to teach me about the construction field and about what was going on. Whenever my field supervisor would send me out into the field, he would always tell me to come back with two questions. So they were really proactive in training me and making sure I was learning throughout the experience.

CEE: Do you have any advice for other CEE students when they apply for internships?

My elevator pitch was pretty good, I was told, so that at least helped me at the start. I was also really meticulous and prepared for every conversation before both approaching recruiters at the TOC and the phone interviews.

Before the TOC, I had a list of companies that I wanted to talk to with details about each one. For my phone interviews, I prepared list of points and questions that I could reference during the interview.

I think being prepared like that was really important and helped me out a lot.


The 2016 CMU Techincal Opportunities Conference (TOC) is sponsored by the College of Engineering and is organized every year by the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. This year's TOC will be held in Wiegand Gymnasium and Rangos Ballroom on September 19 - 21, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. September 19 and 20 are for technical recruiting, and September 21 will be for traditional engineering and science disciplines.