News: Around our Diverse Asia-Pacific Region

Minority engineering students learn tricks of the trade

Published July 22, 2014
Tony Morgan, advancing minorities in engineering program intern, observes a slip form paver, used to separate and smooth out wet concrete until it dries into place, at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys.

Tony Morgan, advancing minorities in engineering program intern, observes a slip form paver, used to separate and smooth out wet concrete until it dries into place, at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys.

By Stephen Satkowski
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District Public Affairs


SEOUL, South Korea -- Three college students are getting on the ground experience in engineering this summer at the Far East District.

The students, Tony Morgan, an electrical engineering major at Morgan State; Randi Wilson, an architectural engineering major at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State; and Zachary Robinson, architecture major at Hampton University; traveled to Korea as part of the Advancing Minorities Interest in Engineering  program. 

The program serves as a catalyst that forges industry, government and academia partnerships that support programs to advance minorities interest in engineering.

The three will rotate through various engineering specialties at the district to help them discover what life is like as a professional engineer.

“It is a great opportunity to not only build the skills of these young people but also impact the future of the United States Army Corps of Engineers by getting them excited about what we do,” said Bernadine Thomson, Korea Program Relocation Office deputy chief.

Thomson and Adrian Devillasee, project engineer and a graduate of the 2000 program, select the interns, receive them at the airport and work to integrate them into the office and job for the ten weeks they are in Korea. She and Devillasee also have become surrogate parents, helping them navigate the subway, seeing some of the sights the peninsula has to offer and helping them learn about the culture.

 “I feel that this is a great opportunity to learn various technical skills and professionalism from qualified engineers,” said Morgan. “I have never been overseas. I am learning so many new things about Korea and this internship has made me a better person. ”

Zachary Robinson chose the architecture field because he enjoys solving problems and creating living spaces that put people at ease. He said the chance to work for the U.S. government in a thriving nation like Korea was a combination he couldn’t turn down.

“It's a great opportunity to get not only professional experience, but a cultural one too,” said Robinson. “The Republic of Korea is a developing country in the midst of a growth spurt so it's an experience that is very unique.”

Robinson interned with engineers before but this is his first time working with Soldiers and civil servants.

“I'm learning acronyms, industry practices, cultural practices and some Hangul all at the same time,” said Robinson.

Robinson said he has gained knowledge here that will prove beneficial as he chooses his future career path.

“This experience has already connected me with people who have shown me multiple pathways in which I can be employed after I get my degree,” said Robinson. “I also want to end this experience with a good idea of how my future might be if I have a career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”

Randi Wilson has wanted to be an engineer for as long as she can remember and said this internship will allow her to apply the skills she learned in the classroom to the real world.

“Lifelong learning is essential as an engineer,” said Wilson. “As the field grows and changes, so must the engineer. “It is my goal to enhance the quality of life for people as their needs grow, also.”

Wilson said this international work experience shows to future employers her flexibility and adaptability.

“This is truly a priceless experience,” said Wilson.

This is the 14th year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has participated in the program.


Release no. 14-035