Professional Culture

What’s it like to be an engineering intern at AEI?

More times than not, you hear stories of summer interns being treated as coffee retrievers and errand runners, but I can assure you that certainly is not the case with an internship opportunity with Affiliated Engineers. AEI interns experience hands-on learning by being teamed up with industry-leading engineers. These mentors provide great opportunities, through meaningful project work and project site visits, for interns to learn and ask questions.

As you know, all good things must come to an end. As the summer winds down, the interns go back to school fully inspired by their newfound knowledge and passion to share their real-life experiences. Before they left the AEI offices, we asked a few of them how their internship experience went this summer, and here are few of their responses:

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Affiliated Engineers, Inc.

Group shot of our 2018 interns.

Group of interns networking at the summer company picnic.

Fire Protection Intern: Josh

As an intern at AEI, these are the questions I often get from friends and family back home: “Do you like your internship? Do they give you enough work to do or are you often bored? Don’t you wish you were back home in Michigan?” However, they are shocked to hear what comes next because it’s not the answers they quite expect.

Interning at AEI has been a life-changing experience. From day one, I dove right into large and difficult projects as part of the Fire Protection Engineering team and was mentored by my colleagues from that first day and every day after. Through supportive collaboration, I have learned how to overcome serious challenges by developing proficiencies in new computer software, understanding orthographic projection, and even developing my own building systems from start to finish.

Not only did I develop technical skills, but I learned how to interact better in a professional environment. I received test results from the DiSC Working Style Assessment to help me understand the ways a person with a similar working style to me may benefit by communicating with others in the workplace.

When I was out of the workplace, I spent most of my time exploring the streets of Madison, Wisconsin with coworkers and friends. Despite going biking, hiking, sailing, and paddle boarding, I still didn’t have enough time to do everything that I had hoped to but learned a lot about the people I was working with and was able to make some great connections.

These are just a few reasons why I believe what makes AEI so unique is the character and charisma of its employees. Since I was young I was always told to find a job I like and make it a career, but what I learned here is that to like the job, you must love the people you work with. I can definitely say that after being here for only three months, I truly enjoy my job and love the people I work with.

Interns exploring the streets of Madison, WI during their summer internship.

Mechanical Engineer Intern: Jess

Three months can either seem like a lifetime or a blink of an eye. With my time at Affiliated Engineers as a Mechanical Engineering intern, I can say that it flew by. From an average day in the office to an off-the-clock intern event, time never slowed down. I was challenged with large-scale projects each work week. When I say, “challenged,” I mean this in the most positive way because I was able to gain so much valuable information and learn new things relating to Mechanical Engineering. AEI is so different from many other companies because the people employed are not afraid to take challenges into their own hands and solve them in an efficient way.

As an intern, I wasn’t just sitting at my desk all day for 40-hours each week. Meetings were organized so the group of interns could learn about different areas of work that AEI does. Also, there were opportunities to get out of the office to visit construction sites of AEI projects. It was so inspirational to see projects come to life from the ground up.

Other than learning about AEI, I was able to get to know other interns. Sometimes coming into a new environment can seem overwhelming, but not being the only person feeling this way can lessen that emotion. The interns also did out-of-office events to get to know each better. One of my favorite events was going to Mount Olympus Water and Theme Park in Wisconsin Dells. Even though it poured while go-karting and a few of us almost flipped a tube going on the waterslide, it was one of the most fun and memorable things I have done this past summer.

Interns exploring the streets of Madison, WI during their summer internship.

Plumbing/Piping Intern: Hector

The reason why AEI is such a great company is because they make a tremendous effort to make you feel like family from day one. I remember my first day when I was shown to my desk and saw my name engraved in a plaque—I immediately took a picture of it and sent it to my mother. While this may seem like a small detail, it conveyed professionalism and a sense of permanence, despite the short-lived three months that consist of a summer internship.

After two days of intensive training, I was immediately introduced to the two main projects that I would be working on all summer; designing and revising pipelines. There were many questions along the way, but my mentors were always willing to help and offer their wisdom. The greatest accomplishment I achieved during my time at AEI, along with the technical knowledge, was the professional aspect of the industry. When I first told people I was moving to Wisconsin for my summer internship I often got asked the same question: why? My answer was simple – why not? Looking back, I am grateful that I opened myself to new opportunities which led to amazing experiences and lifelong lessons.

Hector around town, participating in the intern summer scavenger hunt visiting completed AEI projects.

Engineering interns visiting one of AEI’s project sites.

Mechanical Design & BIM Intern: John

One of the first questions you will be asked in the majority of professional interviews is, “Where do you see yourself in 5 -10 years?” Some are better than others at answering this question, but most have a difficult time foreseeing their future. When Affiliated Engineers inquired this from me, it wasn’t a difficult question to answer at all, “Working with AEI!

Through numerous resources and friendly faces, AEI has helped me understand the inner workings and collaborations of a professional business. The first two days of orientation can be a lot to absorb. Human Resources at AEI made it very intuitive and easy to understand the company structure, introduction to standards, and of course the office layout. I started as a Mechanical Design intern, laying out various ducts, pipes, and equipment. The project managers at AEI were very inclusive in their work, making sure that I understood the material instead of being intimidated by it. I was then offered the opportunity to move to the BIM group and gain even more experience. I have since been involved in countless projects, in which I have my own personal role and purpose in. The accomplishments I have achieved in BIM have well exceeded my expectations for a summer internship.

Between various site visits, department presentations, and after-work activities, I have yet to experience a boring day at AEI. The education I received here was above and beyond what I have received at school. The standards that AEI holds themselves to is what sets them apart from the competition. It’s one thing to be able to say that you’ve completed a project in the industry. It’s a whole different ball game when you can say you’ve completed a project that is leading the industry.

If any of these experiences sound intriguing, please connect with us!

Available opportunities may be viewed here

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