The Army Corps of Engineers sounded like such a prestigious name. I could imagine these individuals doing some of the finest and most important work for the military and for infrastructure projects around the country. It was my first internship and I had no idea what to expect before meeting my supervisor for the first time.
The labyrinth of halls looked like a corporate playground with engineering sprinkled on the walls as I saw the buildings, levies, and other projects worked on throughout the last couple of years photographed beside me. I met the HR employee and was kindly escorted into the office space where I would go to 5 days a week for the next two and a half months in the heart of Manhattan. I found a neat desk in the back, a nice view of the skyline was to my left and a small communal refrigerator to my right. I watched in awe as I set up the three monitors in front of me before a man knocked on the side of my cubicle. He was a stout man with a balding head but a smile on his face. His hand stretched towards mine and gave that face a name. This was Nick, my supervisor. What I had not known was that Nick was an alumnus of Rutgers University School of Engineering and went through the entire electrical engineering curriculum back when he was an undergraduate. This made things exciting and he explained that he knew how Rutgers was and he knew the expectation that the university placed on their engineering students. With that and the rest of my resume, he decided that I was the best fit for the position putting another Rutgers affiliate in the Army Corps of Engineers.
This is not the only time that Rutgers has come up when dealing with individuals and internships. My most recent internship was with an electromechanical company out in Pennsylvania. Little did I know that a full-time employee coming out of the same dual degree program between engineering and physics had just been hired about a year-and-a-half prior to me joining their company for the summer of 2019.
Before taking the position they invited me out to the office where I toured, talked to who would be my future superior; and met Brian, the alumni working full-time at the company. The supervisor who is taking me around watchtower reminisced about some of the things that he did only a couple of years back and I found it inviting and fascinating that this was my second internship and both times I was able to meet alumni from Rutgers which helped shape my decision in coming to work for a company. Brian really did solidify my choice that day. As the company was an hour away and I would leave before 6 in the morning I was unsure up until that point whether I would want to pursue an internship closer or not. Having this network around and meeting them over and over has really made me feel good about being a Rutgers student.
We are in high positions, we are young, fresh faces among an older generation of engineers. We are in high-ranking positions that we have worked for over decades. That's who I think of when thinking of alumni from Rutgers School of Engineering because those are the people that have shaped my decisions in choices of internships and potentially will shape my career.
-Albert, MAE '20