Written by Laura Mason, Southern Methodist University, Class of 2017
Although I have planned to be a civil engineer for a long time, I had never worked for an engineering firm until this semester. When I was given the opportunity to work for BIG RED DOG in Dallas, I was very excited, but also nervous that my education had not prepared me to practice what I have learned.
I had seen the BIG RED DOG name around Dallas and heard that it was a very dynamic company, so I was intrigued to find out more. On my first day of work I was shocked to find out that my new office only had three other employees, but I quickly realized that this allowed me a great chance to learn and grow as an engineer. The office was full of work to be done and I never had a boring day.
At BIG RED DOG, I was given meaningful work, not just paper-pushing like many interns. My first project was writing Site Investigation Reports. I thought this was a great place to begin as an intern because I saw all of the aspects of a site that civil engineers have to understand before starting the design phase. During my internship, I learned about so many things that you never hear about in textbooks or class lectures, particularly while working on actual civil engineering plans. I had the chance to help design grading plans, drainage areas, and erosion control measures, among others.
While working at BIG RED DOG, I have learned to apply my textbook knowledge to the real world. While I was not working math problems all day long, I learned about the problems that engineers actually deal with. Working during the school semester not only taught me to balance my workload, but it also provided me a worthwhile break from sitting in lectures and working on homework.
It has been exciting to see the Dallas office grow in the short time that I have been here. I look forward to hearing about the new projects they take on and watching them spread their name in the Dallas area.
This experience has made me feel very confident in my career choice – I never realized how much I would love civil engineering. I am very grateful to the BIG RED DOG team for giving me this opportunity and for helping to prepare me for the future.
Southern Methodist University, Class of 2017