What Current VDOT Scholars Say
Summer work for engineering scholars is exciting and varied.
Scholars are partnered with professional engineers as their mentors and are assigned real-world work.
Scholars participate in unique developmental activities that include leadership projects and attending conferences.
The 2011 engineering scholars were placed throughout the state and held a variety of roles involving:
- The environment
- Structures and bridges
- Government policy
They had this to say:
Elaine Bartku, a junior majoring in civil engineering, with a summer assignment in the Hampton Roads District Materials Division
"I liked the fact that I got to apply what I 'studied' to actual projects -- reading soil classifications and then going out in the field with the Materials section geologist to take soil samples and evaluate the soil and the importance of its composition. I also like that my summer work has actually impacted the way I do or think about things and served as a learning experience rather than busywork."
Justin Nguyen, a junior majoring in civil engineering, with a summer assignment in the Northern Virginia District Structure and Bridge Division
"When the earthquake struck Virginia, the bridge team had to go out and inspect hundreds of bridges with moveable bearings. That was quite interesting. I got to go on highway bridges. I got to hike down the abutments... Fortunately, I did not slip. It was still fun to hike though. One of the bridges I went to was at least 100 feet to the bottom. When I got to the bottom and looked up at the bridge and the surrounding forest, I it looked like a scene out of the Lord of the Rings. It was quite beautiful and makes me amazed at how the bridges are so high yet so sturdy. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to meet so many great people and learn so much from them."
Chris Copeland, a junior majoring in civil engineering, with a summer assignment in the Richmond District Traffic Engineering Division
"I felt like this past summer was extremely rewarding. It was my first real job experience in what I now know will be relative to my future career in civil engineering. My favorite part of my job was being able to go out into the field to get my hands dirty. I loved the interaction I had with my co-workers."
Caroline Azasoo, a senior majoring in civil engineering, with a summer assignment in the Hampton Roads District Planning Division
"Before this summer and my work at Transportation Planning, I had never set eyes on plats or sight plans before. I felt I would never be able to completely grasp that skill and make reviews and comments as effortlessly and flawlessly as most of the engineers do. I have also come to realize that it is all a learning process. I think it is actually to my advantage that I had this early exposure to site plans and plats before graduation. By the end of the summer, I was able to successfully review and comment on a set of plans for a multi-use path in Isle of Wight."