MKN has found that establishing a learning workplace environment that encourages further education and collaboration between leading professionals and students is extremely beneficial for all involved. Our leading professionals work alongside future leaders who are eager to learn and want to gain invaluable experience.

A learning culture in the workplace emphasizes the importance of completing a task efficiently while being able to teach and mentor newer staff. MKN believes a learning culture in the workplace is an important tool in shaping how our future leaders will contribute to the field of engineering. Internships offer a great opportunity for students to gain new hands-on experience while improving overall efficiency and productivity of the company. Recently, internship experience has often been required as a pre-requisite for graduation from some Universities.

“Learning by doing” is a term used to refer to performing an activity instead of just reading or studying about it in a classroom setting. There are many concepts in engineering that cannot be taught effectively through lectures or in textbooks. Instead, they are best learned through a real-world working environment. An internship provides a learning environment that allows one to grasp a topic quickly and more effectively.

In an article by The College of St. Scholastica, they stress the importance and mutual benefit of internships . There are four ways a college student benefits from an internship:

  • Apply classroom learning in professional environments.
  • Gain exposure to their chosen field.
  • Establish critical networking connections.
  • Gain coveted work experience.

While internships are extremely beneficial to college students, employers also benefit from establishing a learning workplace environment. Four ways employers can benefit from offering internships include:

  • Reap immediate rewards without a hiring commitment.
  • Evaluate up-and-coming talent.
  • Expose young professionals to the company culture.
  • Learn from students’ fresh perspectives.

When interviewing MKN’s former interns, they discussed the opportunities presented to them that they would have not have had otherwise. The internships allowed students to better comprehend the concepts of water and wastewater engineering they had been learning in school through hands-on experiences at MKN. One former intern, Julia Cannon, mentioned that she had the advantage of taking a comprehensive final exam that had several questions based on an MKN project. Ms. Cannon says she was thrown into several projects and “mainly assigned specific tasks such as lift station calculations, preparing construction specifications, permitting research, and construction submittal reviews.” This prior project knowledge, as well as advice from other staff, was a huge aid in her passing the NCEES PE exam. Since the completion of her internship and receiving her Masters in Civil Engineering, Ms. Cannon has been brought on-board full-time as an Assistant Engineer II.

Not every intern is going to have the same roles or experiences. Our new Marketing Assistant, Justin Patterson, was in search of an internship and came across MKN’s posting for a marketing intern position. Having little to no knowledge in the engineering field, he still applied and was eager to learn new things. Mr. Patterson was an intern for one year before being promoted to a full-time Marketing Assistant/Proposal Specialist. Throughout his journey as an intern, Mr. Patterson was able to learn new skills, such as operating new software, and learn how to construct professional documents and proposals, as well as manage the company’s social media accounts. “Working at an engineering firm as a non-engineer definitely has its’ challenges but, these obstacles are ultimately helping me get better at what I do.” At MKN, we value all staff and feel it is important to invest in and pour into future leading professionals – not just engineering, but other professional fields, such as marketing.

Internships are a mutually beneficial arrangement to help students get hands-on experience in the field they are pursuing while being a part of real projects. The transition from student to full-time employee is an abrupt change that is not always easy for employers or employees. Internships make this transition much easier for recent graduates pursuing a professional career. This professional experience will be crucial to how these future leading professionals perform in the job market. “My internship taught me how to think more like an engineer instead of a student”, says Miles Madrid, an Assistant Engineer who began as a Civil Intern with MKN. Miles was promoted to Assistant Engineer I just a few months after he got the Internship. Utilizing internships can help a company as a whole through increased productivity, efficiency, and allowing the company to test-run these interns before making a hiring decision.

If you are interested in an internship with MKN, please contact HR, Carrie Yamate, at .

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