By Antwaun Parrish
USACE-Far East District Public Affairs
SEOUL, South Korea—Two college students were allowed the opportunity to work alongside Far East District engineers this summer, and learn exactly how being a project engineer in the Republic of Korea differs from their university curriculum.
Joyrie Dickerson, a Hampton University senior, and Ryan Davis, a veteran and Colorado State University senior, were selected as the Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering interns for the district. The purpose of the program is to provide the interns real world experience.
The District is currently in the midst of a large construction effort, the Korea Relocation Program, and the students are working hard and participating in projects with district employees.
Dickerson, a chemical engineering major, said this opportunity was unique compared to other internships she’d participated in because it’s in a foreign country and working for the government is a huge opportunity she can list on her résumé.
“That’s one of the things universities and companies ask about are international internships,” said Dickerson. “So I decided that instead of going to another university and doing research that maybe I should step out of my comfort zone and do something with the government.”
Dickerson also stated that this opportunity has provided her lifelong memories. She was afforded the chance to experience a different culture and she will definitely try to encourage her friends to apply for international programs as well.
“A lot of people I know are afraid to step out of their comfort zone, especially the people I grew up with, because they didn’t step out of New Jersey,” said Dickerson.
In her university curriculum most of her work has been centered on research, even her past internships. Since being in Korea, Dickerson has learned a new aspect of engineering and worked on a few construction sites.
“This is pushing me to expand my future,” said Dickerson. “This internship has shown me that I like working for the government, and I like how the government treats its employees.”
Davis, an environmental engineering major, has previous experience working with the government. He was enlisted in the Air Force for more than two years. He has also been working with the U.S. Geological Society for the past two years.
“It’s been a great opportunity to work abroad and for the Corps of Engineers,” said Davis. “It’s the one government agency I was shooting towards to try to get a career with. This is a huge project, which is another thing that drew me to the internship.”
Contracting is an aspect of the internship that Davis had no knowledge of prior to coming here. Now he has learned all about the many aspects of life as an engineer in the District.
“It was interesting to learn how the contract gets initiated and the entire process of working with the contractors,” said Davis. “There are a lot of steps you have to take as an engineer to make sure the project moves along within the desired time table.”
Performing research is a part of Davis’ curriculum as well. He expressed that this opportunity is far different from attending lectures and conducting research.
The AMIE internship is geared to treat the students as employees and have them not only learn but contribute to the overall success of the District’s projects.
“This experience is helping me shift my mood of thinking from being a student to being a professional,” said Davis.
Davis offered a gem to anyone interested in the program or internships that are outside of their comfort zone.
“Take every opportunity to get more exposure and see which field you’re more passionate about,” said Davis.