May 15, 2000
(Left to right) Interns Adam Bergman, Laeth Al-Rashid, and Randa Awad.
Jonathan "Buck" Brooks, a junior at Wooodinville High School.
by Bronwyn Wilson
At Public Works on the second floor at Woodinville City Hall, six student interns have enough energy and zeal to brighten the entire City Hall building. The students, three from the University of Washington, two from Woodinville High School, and one from Boeing, work in a one-year internship for the Public Works Dept.
The City gains dedicated employees at less cost than it would take to hire an outside service to perform the same tasks. And the students, in return, gain experience, while still attending school.
"I was looking forward to seeing what actually happens in engineering," said Adam Bergman, a student at the UW, who will graduate with a Civil Engineering degree this June. Working eighteen hours per week, Bergman assists Yosh Monzaki, Senior Surface Water Engineer.
"I assist in a little of everything," Bergman says. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in June, Bergman will enter a Master's program in Structural Engineering. After that, his plan involves working on bridges.
In construction management for the city of Woodinville, UW student Laeth Al-Rashid assists in design and field data collection. He likes his job because there's always something new to tackle.
"I haven't done the same thing twice," he said. He's learned that a permit is needed for everything, even for digging a hole. "I've learned that you call before you dig," he said.
UW student Randa Awad works with the City's traffic engineer and is assigned to the transportation department in Public Works. Her job involves following up on Citizen Action Requests, cards citizens fill out with a request or complaint.
Adam Bergman began thinking about a career in engineering when he and his dad took on a project of remodeling two houses in need of repair. When finished, Bergman realized he liked the idea of making something out of nothing and fixing things. But the scale of engineering appealed to him more.
"It's a lot more fun to build a huge building than a little widget," he says. Bergman applied to the City's internship program after hearing about it from a friend.
Laeth Al-Rashid came to the United States from Saudi Arabia when he was ten years old. It was only natural for him to choose engineering. His dad is an engineer. "Everyone on my dad's side of the family is an engineer," Al-Rashid says.
Randa Awad grew up in Egypt and has resided in America for the last five years. Her dad, an architectural engineer, has been a major influence in her career choice. Both Awad and Al-Rashid will graduate with Civil Engineering degrees in March 2001.
"My favorite thing about this job is the openness. There's so many different angles to solve a problem--in school, there's only one," Bergman explained.
And Randa Awad added, "I like the exposure to the public side and the open environment here. I'm able to talk with the different departments."
All three interns plan to work for the City full-time this summer and take a break from their heavy schedule of classes. Laeth Al-Rashid will coach the girl's soccer team at Bellevue Christian School. Randa Awad hears the crashing surf on a sunny California beach calling her. As for Adam Bergman, he says he'll celebrate a special occasion in August, his two-year wedding anniversary.
Though not available for an interview, the other three interns have as much drive and enthusiasm as their fellow interns from the University. Jonathan "Buck" Brooks, a junior at Wooodinville High School, works with CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and geographical information systems.
Allison Fast, a senior at Woodinville High School, helps with collection of data on stormwater systems. Rick Blakeley of Boeing is an intern in maintenance and operations of the City's infrastructure.
The interns, with their diverse backgrounds, strengths, and desire to learn, create a dynamic team for the Public Works Department. Originally initiated by Deborah Knight, Assistant to the City Manager, the City of Woodinville's internship program took on steam when Director of Public Works, Mick Monken, hired on in February 1999. Along with Knight, Monken is an enthusiastic advocate of the program.
Although there are no openings for interns now, Monken is willing to talk with anyone who might be interested in a future position. For further information, call Woodinville City Hall at 425-489-2700.