By USACE Far East District
SEOUL, South Korea - Gu Gui-young, a senior at Yeungnam University majoring in materials science and engineering and an intern at the Far East District’s (FED) southern resident office since March, is taking advantage of her time at FED by learning new skills and the American way of life.
“I saw that ACS (Army Community Service) was advertising for internships and I thought I can improve my english speaking and writing skills as well as learn more about American culture,” said Gu. “I am enjoying working here. It is very nice and couldn't be better. All the engineers are nice and kind, even with some language difficulties at the construction site they understand me and let me know my errors.”
Gu has been interested in the engineering field for most of her life.
“Engineering has logical answers,” said Gu. “That is the fascinating thing for me. We can design something and then develop it in a better direction.”
As an intern she has learned about the construction of buildings and renovations. Most of her time has been spent on large projects such as an office center on Camp Carroll and the middle and high school project on Camp Walker.
“To build big buildings like a school, I learned about driving piles, rebar work, form work, and placing concrete slabs,” said Gu. “Most of all, safety is the most important thing on a construction site. There are many dangerous construction materials around us, and if careless, it's easy to be injured in an accident.”
Gu has been an active part of ensuring quality at construction sites. During concrete placement she performs tests’ assuring it is not too hard or too soft.
“If it dries too fast, it becomes hard and difficult to control the shape and finish,” said Gu. “On the other hand, if it is too wet, that is a sign the concrete mixture is not correct and may be too weak and may easily break. We make sure that a strength test and slump test are done whenever concrete is placed.”
Elisa Beck, southern resident office resident engineer, said having an intern of her quality has been nothing but positive for her entire team.
“Having Ms. Gu working here is of great benefit for our office and our projects,” said Beck. “She provides expertise in materials engineering: a branch of engineering that is not commonly seen in the construction field. She started visiting our job sites and assisting our project engineers and quality assurance representatives since her very first day. I am very happy she is here.”
Gu said the internship is a way to broaden her horizons and experience a different learning environment than the one she is used to.
“As my major is about materials, and not directly related to construction, almost all the things that I learned are new and interesting to me,” said Gu. “I like this phrase: all experience is good experience,” said Gu.
She said knowledge and skills she acquired at the Far East District will make her a more valuable employee in the future when she embarks on a full time career.
“This experience will be absolutely helpful for me,” said Gu. “I will remember the skills and methods used here and I believe they will be a good foundation for anything I do in the future.”