How would you describe what you are doing at McKinstry in 50 words or less?
My time at McKinstry has been spent making sure that new equipment in data centers/zoos is installed properly so that computers/polar bears can live comfortably, and figuring out ways that buildings/parks in downtown Portland could be more energy efficient so that humans can live comfortably.
How has this program looked different than you might have expected due to COVID-19 restrictions?
My last term of college was all online due to COVID, so I thought I had a decent idea of what to expect coming into this internship. I thought I would be at my home desk 9 to 5, and we would have Zoom calls every morning, similar to how we did it for school. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that McKinstry and their partners had implemented diligent COVID screening/prevention measures, and were allowed to keep their offices and project sites open because of that, allowing me to have a hybrid schedule of working on site, and at home. Not only that, the virtual Teams meetings were not just some lectures/meetings where the information is just tossed at your face and then the meeting ends. Instead, they were very engaging meetings that pertained not only to the tasks we had as an intern, but also how to learn new skills, connect with other interns/employees across the country, and become a more well-rounded person.
What has McKinstry been successful in with tackling the challenge of COVID-19 from a company and an intern perspective?
McKinstry has really gone above and beyond when it comes to making sure that interns and employees have an experience as close as possible to what a pre-COVID experience would be like. All of the Lunch and Learns, the Coffee Chats, the social hours, and the first couple of minutes during a meeting dedicated to discussing a personal positive/negative of the past week, really helped build the interpersonal connections that we might have missed out on since we don’t have in-person contact to rely on now. You never felt like you were missing out on the technical side of things either. Presenters were very skilled in navigating through the Microsoft Teams interface, polling apps were used to keep people engaged, documents were extremely organized and available for download for future use, and presenters/organizers were always readily available for questions.
What has been the most valuable thing you have learned during this internship so far?
During this internship, I’ve learned a lot about how people work together. On a project site, there are a lot of groups coming together. They all have the same end goal, but they all approach it from their own point of views, as is human nature. The most important thing I took away was that communication is vital. Not only what you are thinking or what you are planning on doing, but why you are thinking or doing that. That is something I’ll take with me into my professional, and personal life.