What Current VDOT Scholars Say
Summer work for engineering scholars is exciting and varied.
Scholars are partnered with professional engineers as their mentors and are assigned real-world work.
They participate in unique developmental activities.
The 2015 engineering scholars were placed throughout the state and held a variety of roles involving:
- Location and Design
- Residency issues
This is what they say about their 2015 summer assignments:
Stephanie Lagarile, a senior, majoring in civil engineering at Old Dominion University, with a summer assignment in the Hampton Roads District Office.
“Working with VDOT was a challenging, but rewarding experience like no other. I worked in the Hampton Roads planning division where I learned how the initial planning stages of a project work.
"I attended various meetings with city representatives, consultants, committees, and organization chairs where I learned how certain projects get started and planned. I also did analysis on the various Park and Ride lots in Hampton Roads, HOV analysis, plan reviews of Interstate 264 interchanges, and traffic forecasting.
"I did various site visits where my coworkers would take me to project sites and explain their plans to fix a transportation problem.
"Towards the end of the summer, I assisted in collecting data for bike and pedestrian facilities along interstates, as well as reviewing bike and pedestrian studies. I also learned about bridge design and mapping of structures while working in Structure and Bridge.
"One thing I like about VDOT is that they really want you to experience all that you can. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow professionally in your career with VDOT.
This was my first work experience related to my career, and I feel I learned so much in just one summer. I enjoyed meeting new people and becoming part of the VDOT culture. I’m glad to be a part of an agency that aims to serve Virginia. I’m truly thankful for this experience.“
Jerraud Parker, a senior, majoring in civil engineering at George Mason University, with a summer assignment in the Hampton Roads District.
“This summer has been a rewarding experience working for VDOT.
"Working in the location and design division, I got a chance to see first-hand what goes into the designing of road systems from civil engineers.
"Both my supervisor and manager wanted me to get the most out of this experience and allowed me to circulate to different divisions within our district office.
"This gave me the freedom to find out which part of civil engineering interested me the most.
"Each day was a new experience, whether it was sitting in on executive meetings for proposed projects, in the office drawing and editing plans or on the construction site of an existing project.
"I learned new CAD software,such as Bentley Micro-station, and how to operate a robotic total station. These skills will definitely be beneficial as I transition into my professional career.
"Working with professional engineers, I have gotten insight on how the Department of Transportation comes together to get projects done. Everyone there is friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have.
"My favorite part of the summer was getting to go out on the boat and using the C3D-LPM side scan sonar system to measure the depth of the rocks to make sure the Hampton Road Bridge Tunnels had enough rock covering over them.
"VDOT gives hands-on experience you can’t learn in the classroom. I would recommend any college undergrad majoring in civil engineering apply to the intern/scholar program. I am thankful for VDOT for giving me this opportunity.”
Isabel Kigo, a junior, majoring in civil engineering at the University of Virginia, with a summer assignment in the Warrenton Residency.
“Before this past summer I didn’t realize how broad civil engineering is and I wasn’t certain which area I wanted to work in, however this program deepened my knowledge, gave me the chance to explore my interests and encouraged development of my professional skills and network.
"I was assigned to Culpeper District’s Warrenton Residency, which is mainly involved in operations and maintenance, but I was also able to work in the Traffic, Structure and Bridge and Construction divisions.
I learned about milling and paving, types of deformations in bridge structures and how to identify them, the construction process of an overpass, and about rural rustic projects.
"I also learned about how traffic studies are conducted, how to set up a traffic camera and install roadway signs, the tradeoffs and engineering decisions that must be made in designs and projects and so much more. This summer was a learning and growing experience like no other!
"Some of my favorite aspects about VDOT are the people who are welcoming, friendly and willing to help; the changes of environment between office and field; the unbeatable opportunities, and most importantly, the service.
"The reason I want to become an engineer is because my work would benefit others. VDOT’s dedication to service is outstanding and I am glad to be a part of it.”
Skyler P. Farr, a senior in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Military Institute, with a summer assignment in Fredericksburg Residency
“This was my first summer interning with VDOT or any civil engineering internship. I had no idea what to expect from VDOT, which made me apprehensive to apply for the scholar internship.
"I am more than happy that I did! From this summer, my world has be opened. Working for a department of transportation is much more than just deciding where a sign should go or how to fill a pothole correctly.
"As an engineering intern at VDOT, I saw how every form of civil engineering, from structural to materials to soils and geology to water management to environmental and, of course, traffic engineering, all factor into the design and maintenance of Virginia’s bridges and road. I can never look at a road the same way.
"This summer taught me priceless skills that I will carry into my future. I learned one skill that I never thought I would gain form an engineering internship: public service.
"Public service and interpersonal tact permeate the culture of VDOT. Every employee, from an engineer to the operators on the streets, work towards keeping the citizens of Virginia happy, and most of all, safe!
"I witnessed firsthand how the skills and drive of the employees of VDOT really keep Virginia moving!”
Andrea Ruano Duke, a junior, majoring in civil engineering at Virginia Tech, with a summer assignment in Fredericksburg Residency.
“This summer I had the opportunity to work for VDOT at the Fredericksburg Residency. If I had to sum it up in one word, I would use “eye-opening.”
"Not only did I learn more about the engineering that goes behind solving common transportation problems, but I also learned more about what the agency has to offer.
"I never imagined there was such a broad range of opportunities! It was also incredibly fascinating to see what a residency’s responsibilities are and how they are managed on a day-to-day basis.
"As an employee at the Fredericksburg Residency, I had the opportunity to spend time both in the office and in the field. I spent a few weeks working on a daily expense tracker that would allow smaller area headquarters to track their daily expenses and would compare these values to the yearly budget.
"I also learned about different paving techniques and how they are selected by visiting a recently paved segment of roadway on Route 14.
"These experiences, and many more, truly influenced my career path and definitely contributed to my knowledge of civil engineering. Working with district, residency and area headquarters employees, as well as government officials, really allowed me to see the impact the agency has on the state.
"VDOT truly presents civil engineering students across the state with an opportunity that rivals no other.”
Click here if you are eligible and interested in the Civil Engineering Scholarship Program.
Note: VDOT also offers an internship program for business and engineering students. You may also apply if you meet program requirements: VDOT Internship Program.
Email questions or comments to PipelinePrograms@vdot.virginia.gov.