For my STEP Signature Project, I completed an internship experience May through July of 2019 at Karpinski Engineering in the field of mechanical engineering for building design. I got to get an inside look into my future career field, develop professional relationships, and utilize and enhance my practical engineering knowledge.
This internship really put the day-to-day work I put into my mechanical engineering degree into perspective and gave it renewed value in my eyes. It was eye-opening to see concepts I’ve learned about only in class get utilized in the real world and I feel a greater sense of purpose working toward my degree now. Before working for Karpinski, I felt unsure about whether mechanical engineering was the right fit for me, and I was uncertain what direction I wanted to take my career. Now, I feel much more at home in my studies at OSU because I am confident that I am in the right program that allows me to work in an industry that I love. Because earning a professional engineering license is important in the architectural engineering field, I have set new goals for myself to start this process by taking the Fundaments of Engineering Exam next summer. Overall, I am so much more confident in myself professionally and academically after this internship because I feel more motivated and purposeful.
My experience working for Karpinski Engineering this summer has been extremely transformative and rewarding. At Karpinski, my role was to support all of the engineers and project managers with design work, meeting project deadlines, and administrative tasks. I felt very valued at Karpinski because they treated me like a team member, coworker, and peer. The work that I did was actually a piece of the final products provided to our clients; the responsibility and trust that was placed in me at this company allowed me to grow immensely professionally and personally. I did not anticipate how much I would truly learn when it came to both technical knowledge on HVAC systems and skills in software design programs like AutoCAD and Revit. Now I feel confident that I have a great basis of knowledge and skills that are important in this industry.
Besides just the day-to-day production work that I mostly focused on in the office, I also had some special opportunities that put all the work into perspective and allowed me to see the impact of my job. I got the chance to participate in some meetings with clients where we reviewed our drawings and designs with them. I loved experiencing the interaction with the clients because it reminded me how the work we do directly impacts people and emphasized how important customer service is in this industry. Also, I had the opportunity to attend some site visits to record information on existing locations where we are doing renovation projects. I loved these visits because I got to see the “behind-the-scenes” of how a building operates. Through this work, I gained a greater appreciation for the sheer amount of work it takes to design, build, and run a building.
Though Karpinski Engineering is a relatively small company, I was still able to build many strong relationships with my coworkers, find incredible mentors, and do some networking outside of the company. The size of Karpinski particularly allowed me to foster relationships with people in elevated positions in the company and I was able to have a unique role as their only intern. Directly working with both younger, newer engineers and older, very experienced engineers gave me a variety of great insight into the industry. I also attended meetings with the Columbus ASHRAE chapter and the Central Ohio BIM User Group. These meetings were very valuable because I got to network with people outside of Karpinski and learn about relevant topics in the MEP industry that were different from my daily work.
My experience working for Karpinski Engineering this summer steered me towards a career path I’m excited for, motivated my studies, and gave me confidence in myself professionally and academically. These changes are extremely valuable to my life because I think they will all allow me to be more successful in my academic and professional career from here on out. I feel very motivated to work even harder towards my degree in mechanical engineering now that I know it will be valued in the industry I want to pursue. I am able to focus on and create more specific goals that are oriented towards my future career. Additionally, this internship has relieved so much stress related to finding a company that I would love to work for. Because of the relationships I built at Karpinski and positive performance reviews, I will be returning to work there again next summer. My internship experience was much more personally, professionally, and academically transformative than I anticipated and will continue to be rewarding next year when I work at Karpinski Engineering again.