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County Internship Program Enables Engineering Students to Tackle Real-world Projects

By at August 10, 2012 | 9:25 am | Print

County internship program enables engineering students to tackle real world projects
Bradley University engineering student Brian Heinrich helped design a bike trail during his summer internship at the Cook County Highway Department.

Heinrich and six other engineering students spent 10 weeks working mostly out in the field on projects ranging from bridges and road repairs to drainage design and sewer reconstruction.

The students met with President Toni Preckwinkle this week to talk about their experiences working at the county.

“I gained a lot of very good technical knowledge out in the field,” said Yuriy Yatsyshyn, a student at the University of Illinois Chicago. “This internship gives me a green light for my future.”

President Preckwinkle, a former high school history teacher, said she is very pleased the county was able to provide an opportunity for students to apply their classroom training to hands-on projects.

“All of the interns expressed to me how much they learned in the program, and they were grateful for the guidance and training they received from our engineers,” she said. “It was also gratifying to learn that all the students are now considering engineering careers in government. The program was a huge success and we hope to offer it again next year.”

Highway Superintendent John Yonan said the county’s intern program allowed Highway Department engineers to mentor a very talented group of students.

“Our goal is to give these students a chance to get the real world experience of being a public servant, and to help them decide where to focus their interest in school and after graduation,” he said. “We’re confident that this won’t be the last time we’ll see some of these faces, and it has been a privilege having had the opportunity to help shape their future.”

Waltz Tsang, a student at University of Illinois Chicago, said her experiences working in the field were “definitely different than what I see in school or books.”

Bradley University student Patricia White said it was “great to see what I learned in school turn into real life.”

Kenneth Park, a UIC student, worked on two construction projects involving milling, resurfacing and asphalt patching. “It was good seeing how the county and different contractors worked together,” he said.

Fellow UIC student Dipika Gongal said her internship was “a great learning experience. My supervisors have been really helpful. They helped me visualize what’s in the field.”

Adam Gervasio, also of UIC, worked out of the downtown office in the Planning and Permits division.


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