Carnegie Mellon University

Junior Paul Anderson dove deeper into his fascination with offshore civil engineering this summer while interning at ExxonMobile.

July 31, 2018

Internship: Offshore Engineering Discovered at CMU Job Fair

Rising junior Paul Anderson discovered his summer internship with ExxonMobile while attending the Technical Opportunities Conference career fair at Carnegie Mellon. He’s focusing on offshore civil engineering and is excited for the opportunity to work alongside people from all parts of the company—expanding his network while learning about graduate opportunities.

CEE: Tell us more about what you’re doing this summer.

My work involves capacity analysis for floating offshore platforms. I’m also working on structural assessment for onshore refinery structures. 

One of my projects involved developing tools to model the capacity of offshore anchors (suction piles) and to aid in designing them for future offshore installations, using field data on soil properties, material properties of the anchors, and project-specific performance requirements.

The other involved designing forms and procedures to conduct inspections of civil/structural assets at refinery facilities, in order to standardize these procedures worldwide and improve the efficiency of the asset evaluation process for our engineers.

CEE: How did your classes at CEE prepare you for the internship?

The class, Principles of Computing, was helpful in the first project I mentioned because it provided a solid background in developing computer programs to perform engineering tasks. It provided me with skills applicable to many different programming languages and allowed me to quickly become reasonably proficient in the software we use at ExxonMobil. I wouldn't have been able to succeed in the project, and by extension the internship, had I lacked the skills from this course.

My Professional Writing course was useful because we rely heavily on presentations at ExxonMobil. It allowed me to produce digital presentations of high quality, in order to deliver effective updates on the projects to my supervisors and colleagues. That skill is not necessarily intuitive, and the material I learned in my CEE professional writing class allowed me to succeed where otherwise I would not have.

Solid Mechanics was necessary for the first project I mentioned because it provided me with a technical background in how materials behave under loading. While I have yet to take the specialized soils course at CMU, the principles of basic solid mechanics extend well to soils. The course allowed me to learn a great deal of soil mechanics during my internship, in the course of completing that project.

CEE: What’s been the highlight of your internship?

My favorite part of the internship is the opportunity to meet people from many different parts of the company. I’m also learning about a multitude of different career opportunities that ExxonMobil offers to engineering graduates.

CEE: Why would you encourage other students to take an internship?

In regards to the general benefits of the internship for my personal and professional development, there is really no way to familiarize oneself with the real-world function of an industry without being involved with it. I've had the opportunity to network with many professionals (and fellow interns) in the oil and gas industry this summer, to learn about the intricacies of ExxonMobil's work and role in the worldwide oil and gas industry, and to learn about what it's like to work here as opposed to many other companies in affiliate roles (e.g., contractors, service companies, fabricators, etc.).

I learned a lot about engineering work in general; knowledge that goes beyond what we can learn in the classroom. I also made many new friends this summer, whom I'll hopefully meet again next summer!