A week after I applied for the grant, I was offered a civil engineering internship. This opportunity was much more relevant to my education and experiences than the Weed Science research position I currently had, so I chose to pursue the engineering internship. I’m glad that I did, because I had a great summer and learned a lot! I worked for Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, as a land development intern in their oil and gas division. I composed Erosion and Sediment (E&S) Control Reports as well as Post Construction Stormwater Management (PCSM) Reports. To supplement these reports, I included various maps, plan sets, soil reports, and various E&S and PSCM structure calculations.
This experience was very important to me because it gave me firsthand knowledge of civil engineering in the oil and gas industry. I want to work in this industry when I graduate, so my internship allowed me to get a small flavor of the ins and outs of the Marcellus Shale oil and gas industry. The main component of my internship was designing well pads that minimized soil erosion. Earthmoving projects can cause massive amounts of sediment to escape into nearby waterways, smothering aquatic life if not mitigated properly. My job was to design E&S and PCSM best management practices (BMPs) to keep sediment loads contained on-site while allowing stormwater runoff to return to nearby streams.
I learned a lot of new things during my internship with HRG, but sometimes my previous science knowledge could be used and/or strengthened. My job often required me to use topographic maps to draw drainage area boundaries and time of concentration flow paths to calculate stormwater runoff volumes. I was exposed to these concepts briefly in one of my past courses, but now I have a more concrete understanding of their function and purpose. The same goes for other concepts such as soil hydrology, channel flow, pipe flow, and open channel flow. I learned the science behind these concepts in school, but my internship experience allowed me to apply that knowledge to solve real-world problems.
During my internship with HRG, I learned how to use specific software packages relevant to work in civil engineering/land development, specifically in the oil and gas industry. The two main programs I used were HydroCAD and AutoCAD Civil3D. HydroCAD is a stormwater modeling program and AutoCAD Civil3D is a civil engineering-specific computer aided design software. My new working knowledge of these programs will make me more valuable to future employers. All civil engineering companies use some form of AutoCAD and stormwater modeling software, but these programs are rarely taught in the classroom. Having this experience with these technical programs will suit me well for future employment in the oil and gas industry.