My name is Kim Searles and I am going into my fourth year at the University of South Florida studying Civil Engineering. I am from a small town outside of Philadelphia where roadway and building construction was always happening. My mother works for a design firm and my father is a mechanical engineer, so I always grew up around engineering. When it was time to start looking for colleges I wanted to see what the world had to offer so I made the choice to pack up my life and move 1000 miles south. Since my town was right near I-95 which is notoriously always under construction, I’ve been exposed to roadway construction since a young age. I was always curious as to what those big machines were, how they could build something suspended in the air and have thousands of cars drive on it and why they needed such a long time to do these things.
I was fortunate enough to get an internship in construction after my first year at USF. At that internship, I didn’t do much engineering. It was a lot of administrative assistant work because the original administrative assistant was on maternity leave. The engineers at that company would try to involve me in as much as they could, but being that I had not taken any heavy civil engineering courses yet my main focus was on paperwork. I had thought that the work was interesting but I wanted to see if there was another field of civil engineering I would be more interested in. The following summer I got a desk job at a lightning protection company designing lightning protection for oil and gas companies. I realized, during that internship that what I was doing in construction was far more interesting even if it was administrative work. Sitting at a desk doing the same exact thing every day, never seeing your work be put into action turned me away from the design portion of engineering. So for this current summer I only looked for a construction internship job just to solidify my choice in career path. I was fortunate enough to get an internship with the Lane Construction Corporation after speaking with them at WE16 in Philadelphia. I moved from Tampa, back to Philadelphia for a week, and then out to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to start work. From day one of work, I’ve been fascinated with everything I have done. I am located on State Route 70 where we are building sedimentation basins and bioretention basins in order to widen the shoulders to rebuild the road. I’ve been involved in everything from making the work plans to estimating and it’s been made very clear that this is where I belong. I can’t wait to apply everything I’ve learned this summer to my education and to all my collegues.
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