Carnegie Mellon University

Russell Orlick

August 05, 2019

Internship: Gaining Valuable Hands-On Experience as a Field Engineer

Russell Orlick, a rising junior, is spending his summer working with Clark Foundations, learning the ins and outs of the construction industry. Clark Foundations, with locations across the country, has completed more than 100 of the country’s most sophisticated support of excavation systems. Through this experience, Russell has had the opportunity to participate in field engineering work, shadow a field engineer, and work with 3D modeling.

CEE: Tell us about the projects you’ve been working on this summer:

Russell: I’m working for Clark Foundations, a sub-company of Clark Construction. The company has me on a rotation schedule so I may experience many different jobs including field engineering work, 3D modeling, database creation, and updating sections, plans, and schedules.

One of my favorite projects was working on a hospital expansion for Medstar Georgetown as I had first-hand experiences of the daily tasks of a field engineer.

CEE: How did you find out about this internship?

Russell: We have an internship and job fair at CEE called the TOC, and Clark recruits there. I attended the fair, not knowing what to really expect. I applied to Clark because I knew I would have a great learning opportunity if I was offered the internship. After the multiple stages of interviewing, I ended up interning with Clark for the summer.

CEE: How did your education prepare you for your internship?

Russell: The CEE department and Carnegie Mellon have been very thorough in developing strong problem-solving skills which have helped me in my internship. I have yet to take the necessary classes needed for support of excavation and more specific engineering design work. Applying these problem-solving skills helped me to tackle all different types of tasks from designing a 3D model to creating a market study.

CEE: What is your favorite part of the experience?

Russell: My favorite part so far is shadowing a field engineer and a project manager for three weeks on their jobsite. It allowed me to see first-hand how they use general, engineering, and people skills in their work. It also helped me to understand the type of work I’d be doing if I worked with Clark in the future. It made me question what type of work I want to be doing when I graduate, and has been my favorite learning experience from this summer.

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

Russell: Be organized and professional throughout the entire recruitment process. It makes you stand out from the average student. And remember, even if you don't get the internship, you’ve made a valuable contact.