May 28, 2019

Shadow Student gets a Firsthand Look at Engineering in Richmond

It’s one thing to study engineering. It’s another thing to be an engineer. That’s why a local high school junior shadowed several engineers from the Richmond office recently to learn more about engineering and the educational requirements of the field.

Caitlynn Collins, a student at Trinity Episcopal School, took part in Junior Work Week. It is a career interest program at her school where students meet and interact with professionals in a field of their interest prior to applying to college. She was introduced to RK&K and the engineering field by a fellow Trinity graduate, Gabriela Larus.

“We focused a lot on the collaborative aspect of engineering and utilizing a holistic approach to problem solving,” said Gabriela. “It is a multidisciplinary field, so Caitlynn was encouraged to keep an open mind while shadowing our team to see which one sparks her interest and also to see how they all work together to develop engineering solutions.”

The purpose of the Junior Work Week Program is to allow students to experience a firsthand glimpse of what is involved in the field of their interest while observing the corporate skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are needed to be successful in the workplace. Caitlynn shadowed engineers in various disciplines for the week and had a great opportunity to explore different facets of engineering and gain insight into the day-to-day engineering atmosphere. She is considering studying Environmental Engineering in her post-secondary engineering field. Caitlynn got a first-hand look at how engineers apply these skills on the job site as well. She joined Tom Hawthorne for a discussion of construction management and inspection followed by a visit to the Forest Hill Avenue widening project in Richmond where she observed our inspectors interacting with the contractor and performing density testing in the field. Tom explained, “Caitlynn indicated a personal interest in environmental engineering, so we talked about the importance of environmental regulation compliance to delivery of a construction project and saw first-hand some of the measures taken in the field to protect adjacent property and nearby streams.”

“Going into to Junior Work Week I was hesitant about becoming an engineer, but at the end of the week, I realized I really want to be a civil engineer,” said Caitlynn. “While at RK&K, I was able to discover more Information about each department of civil engineering. From environmental to roadway to utilities, I learned it all. Through using computer programs and visiting current project sites, I gained so much knowledge and left each day very inspired. The amazing team at RK&K made this week truly memorable and unforgettable.”

“We are thrilled to host Caitlynn for Junior Work Week and show her some of the fantastic projects we’re involved in to expand her knowledge of the engineering field,” Gabriela Larus said. “I think our engineers enjoyed it as much as Caitlynn did.”

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