Name: Cara Dakyung Kang
Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland College Park
Internship Site: Min Engineering
Career Goal : My career goal is to be a Mechanical Engineer, but I am still undecided about the kind of engineering that I would like to specialize in. This internship will give me an insight into what a typical day of a Mechanical & HVAC design engineer is and what kinds of work they do regularly. It will help me explore the career path as a design engineer and give me an insight about which path to pursue. My internship at Min Engineering will provide me with valuable hands-on experience and training that would make me a competitive candidate for future full-time jobs after college.
1. What is the culture like at your internship site?
Min Engineering, Inc. is a small consulting company that has a comfortable work environment. It has about 20 employees and is relaxed. It has a fairly casual office environment where you have plenty of time to work on a project and learn in-depth. Everyone in the office has been very caring and kind, not only my supervisor but also other engineers and technicians who were willing to teach me whenever I had questions or had difficulties on projects. There is no dress code for interns and employees.
2. Who are the clients that you work with?
As an intern, I did not have a chance to work directly with the clients. However, based on the projects that I have worked on, there were a variety of clients with complex facilities such as federal government, commercial buildings, residential buildings, and transportation. The goal of each project is to create a healthy environment with energy-efficient and sustainable system design while strictly following the codes. Since the purpose of each building significantly varies, depending on the client’s needs, the end-user is anyone such as students, employees, or residents who uses the facilities.
3. Are you working on any exciting projects that you want to share? Have you learned any exciting new skills that were unexpected?
One of the projects I found the most interesting was part of WMATA bus bay project. I once have been assigned to complicated heat transfer calculations that required my knowledge in heat transfer. My task was mainly performing calculations using the excel spreadsheet and crosschecking the results with other engineers. I found it challenging because of the structure of the building. Some portion of the building were embedded beneath the ground, meaning that I need to use different heat coefficients for each and measure the area separately. Also, fully understanding the floor plans was challenging for me with little to no experience in interpreting blueprints. It made me spend some time thinking and visualizing the structure of the building. It is a great experience to learn how things are getting complicated in real life and combining different knowledge of mine to complete the task.
While working on projects, one of the unexpected skills was learning about 3D modeling and other HVAC-related software skills such as Revit, AutoCAD-MEP, TraneTrace, and Rhvac. At Min Engineering, I have been able to increase my exposure to a variety of software and become more comfortable with them. I found those skills useful and valuable because many engineering companies nowadays prefer those who have relevant software skills in their candidates.
4. How did you prepare for the interview? Can you share any tips for your fellow students?
To prepare for the interview, I reviewed my resume in full and briefly walked through it right before the interview to have all the information fresh. I also did some research on the company to have a general understanding of what they do. In terms of the tips that I would offer my fellow students, I’d say “practice”. I recommend practicing some common interview questions and keeping it short and concise. Other than that, I would say just be yourself and confident, then you would be fine!
5. How did you find your internship position?
I found my internship position on career4terps (UMD career website). I had been looking for Internship/Co-Op for the spring specifically in Maryland, and a few days after applying to the position, I got an on-site interview offer from the company. After the interview, luckily I got a Co-Op offer for the spring. For my resume, I did not use a career center for help, but several people went over it to make sure my resume looks professional and neat. I visited a writing center to help with the cover letter.
6. Anything else you want to share about your experience?
I think one most important things that make one strong in remote internships are webinars. I received training webinar during the COVID-19 pandemic and found it very helpful to learn and connect from home. Sometimes, phone calls or emails are not very effective in conveying information and training, engaging online events and training in form of Webinars are a lot more effective.