October 13, 2016 | by Arfa Ansari

For a very long time, I had my eyes set on becoming an architect due to my passion for designing and drawing. Then, I realized that I was also interested in how infrastructure remains intact through all types of conditions. From that simple interest, I eventually gathered a more in-depth passion to understand the underlying framework of buildings, roads, and bridges. 

I am now an undergraduate student in Ryerson University’s civil engineering program, and this summer I was seeking an opportunity to get a head start in the engineering industry. Before receiving the internship opportunity at EBA, I had no previous experience whatsoever working in a professional environment.

When I learned that I would be working with multiple engineering departments—including water systems, environmental, and transportation—I was absolutely ecstatic, as I had taken academic courses within all those branches. Knowing that I would be able to perform real-life tasks and actually apply the theory that I had learned in the classroom made it clear that EBA was the right choice for me. I also knew that gaining exposure to the different engineering branches would help me decide which specific field I want to pursue as a full-time career.

Before becoming a part of the EBA family, I always believed that each department works independently for their individual projects. However, I have now learned that for a top-notch engineering firm like EBA to function effectively, internal communication is an extremely important skill. Many different departments are responsible for a project’s success due to overlapping tasks. By witnessing EBA’s extensive and effective communication, I now understand one of the main reasons behind EBA’s success.

I had my best experience working with EBA’s environmental department, as they provided me with the most opportunities to participate and learn. As I was choosing which departments to work in, I had a preconceived notion that I would not enjoy working in the environmental department at all, so I was least excited for it. However, it ended up being the opposite, and it turned out that I enjoyed that department the most! 

For example, I was fascinated to learn about the abatement of hazardous materials—the process of checking materials prior to demolition. I was stunned by the amount of work that goes into the demolition of a building. I also enjoyed visiting many sites with the environmental department, such as the construction sites at the Cox Creek Water Reclamation Facility and the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant. I also observed drilling taking place for the first time.

Building relationships with my colleagues was key to my journey as an intern at EBA. At first, I was nervous to walk in as an intern, since I had never been a part of a professional work environment before. However, when I realized how much everyone was willing to help, I became more comfortable and started forming relationships with my coworkers. This gave me the confidence to ask my colleagues all the questions that came to my mind and have valuable conversations. I was thus able to get more help, which ultimately made my intern experience amazing.

If you are thinking about interning at EBA, go for it! And do not hesitate to take part in departments that you feel you will not enjoy. In fact, I encourage you to participate in at least one department that does not seem enjoyable, because you might end up liking that one the most!