August 16, 2018
Internship: Restoring the George Summer Internship—Ensuring Safety and Adding Appeal
CEE/EPP undergraduate Joseph Iacobellis is spending his summer working on “Restoring the George,” an initiative of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to maintain the structural health of the George Washington Bridge. Joseph is an intern with El Sol Contracting and Construction—the company overseeing the widening of the 85-year-old bridge. The project will also add pedestrian walkways, a pedestrian bridge, and a lookout area for tourists. Over 50.5 million vehicles cross the George Washington Bridge east-bound each year.
CEE: What’s your internship role in “Restoring the George”?
In the beginning, most of my work entailed looking over hundreds of pages of plans and asking as many questions as I could. Later, I went into the field and logged material takeoff, kept track of subcontractors’ progress, ensured that our laborers had all the proper tools and equipment they needed, and measured various things—including steel, drilling, times, lumber, and electrical—to track billing and progress.
I was able to work onsite with the superintendent, field engineer, surveyor, project manager, and laborers. The scope of the work includes redoing the entire concrete deck on the New York side of the George Washington Bridge and adding pedestrian areas that will make the site more of a tourist attraction. It will most likely take seven years to complete.
CEE: How did your classes prepare you for the internship?
My classes that discussed scheduling and truss forces were helpful in understanding the processes and physics behind this construction project. I also learned on-the-job and gained more hands-on experience than I could have ever imagined.
I plan to graduate with a dual degree of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and Engineering and Public Policy (EPP). I’m thinking of continuing on to earn a master’s degree in Civil Engineering and an MBA.
CEE: What’s been the best part of your experience?
The work and learning was very fun and invaluable—but my favorite part was getting to know to people of El Sol. They’re easy to get along with, learn from, and joke with. They made my internship a great experience.
CEE: What would you tell other students applying for internships?
Reach out to as many people as you can and network. I was on LinkedIn for months messaging people from companies I was interested in. This helped me to make connections that I can reach out to about questions or future internships. Also, ask for help. I don’t think I would’ve been able to discover this position without the help of family, friends, and the CMU career development center.