Ferris State University students gain valuable work experience through internships. Internships also can confirm or redirect career decision-making, provide marketability, develop people skills and enhance classroom learning. Many academic programs require one, but the experience is encouraged regardless to provide students with a better understanding of what will be expected of them in the workplace.
Many students are participating in myriad internships this summer. Meet: Alesha Reed
She is: A senior from Bad Axe, Mich., majoring in Construction Management
Internship: The Christman Company, which is providing construction management services for Ferris’ $33.9 million University Center project to renovate the Rankin Student Center into a modern, future-oriented facility. The company also was a partner in Ferris’ renovation of the former Federal Building in Grand Rapids, recently renamed the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building. The building is part of Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design campus.
Alesha snagged the 12-week internship after a networking opportunity with a Christman official visiting campus.
“When I applied to The Christman Company’s internship program, I was thrilled to be able to get more experience in construction to help make myself more valuable,” she said. Then she discovered the internship would include the University Center project. “I was ecstatic. Not many students get the opportunity to really make a lasting impression on their university while they are still attending classes.”
What she’s learning: Alesha is preparing the bid package for work to be performed at the Rankin Student Center, which includes coordinating communications with several companies and handling requests for more information.
“I take care of all the safety orientations on site and help run and record any meetings that take place at our field office on site,” she said. “I also am responsible for the monthly project updates to document what is happening.”
The internship has helped confirm her career choice, she said.
“I enjoy doing something new every day and dealing with change and problem-solving, and I especially like getting to interact with so many different people.”
Something cool: “My favorite experience so far was getting to watch the demolition of Masselink and Carlisle (residence halls),” she said. “I’ve never gotten to see a demolition start-to-finish, so it was neat seeing the different equipment come in and strategically demolish them.”
(The halls were demolished to create additional parking for the University Center and commuter students.)
On campus: She’s a member of the Sigma Lambda Chi honor society for construction students and the Associated Construction Students registered student organizations. She also is a hurdler and high jumper for the Bulldogs’ Women’s Track and Field team.
Her involvement in the RSOs combined with what she’s learned in the classroom have made Alesha feel well-prepared for the internship and a career in construction.
“The coursework and the professors both are very accurate at exposing students to what the construction industry is all about. Because the coursework is so hands on and every professor has had so much experience in construction, it’s easy to be able to relate the challenges I face on the job back to the classroom.”
Her plan: After graduation in May, Alesha would like to work on a large construction project “somewhere warm.”