From Internship to Full-Time: What It’s Like Working at Affinis

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022 by
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Jason Eskina, Engineer-in-Training and Conner Jackson, Project Representative, interned at Affinis for several years before joining the team full-time. With a new intern on staff this summer, we asked them to share information about their experience as interns and shed light on how their responsibilities have changed. Find their insights below.

Tell me about your time working at Affinis as an intern.
Jason: I interned at Affinis in the summers of 2019 and 2020. During my internship, I was given the opportunity to see what the day-to-day life of a civil engineer was like. It consisted of moving from project to project, completing various tasks that were in different stages of design. I prepared for and attended a variety of meetings (Field Check, Utility, Progress, Public, Bid Opening, and in-house team meetings). I also assisted with quantity take-offs, permitting for projects, and preliminary storm design (delineating drainage areas and calculations). I attended professional organization events, like the APWA BBQ, APWA Young Professionals, AEC Intern Partnership, and the KSPE Picnic. These events allowed me to meet and network with other young engineers. In addition to assisting the engineering team, I also spent a couple of days out in the field with the survey team.

Conner: I began interning with Affinis in 2018. For the next three years, I worked closely with their Construction Engineering team, shadowing John McCanless, a senior project representative. During this time, I got to ask a lot of questions. He explained how things worked and how they should go together.

What were your responsibilities?
Jason: My responsibilities changed daily depending on what project I was working on and what needed to be completed. I think a big responsibility as an intern is to ask a lot of questions to improve your own knowledge. It also helps the mentor/supervisor explain things they might not have considered explaining.

Conner: As an intern, my primary responsibility was shadowing the construction engineering team. Occasionally, I’d work on my own watching the site, creating reports, and taking photos. I also had the opportunity to oversee concrete and dirt tests and coordinate with contractors out in the field.

When did you join Affinis full-time?
Jason: I joined Affinis full-time on June 14th, 2021.

Conner: I also started full-time in 2021.

Why did you decide to join the Affinis team?
Jason: I decided to join Affinis, because of the relationships I’d built with the coworkers. Their values and vision also lined up with what I wanted to do with my career. I wanted to be a part of what Affinis is doing for the local communities.

Conner: I liked interning with Affinis the first year and decided to stick with it each summer in the hopes that I could secure a full-time position with the company. Shadowing the construction engineering team gave me a great idea as to what my role could be like. I liked that I would be working independently.

How have your responsibilities changed now that you’ve joined the firm full-time?
Jason: My responsibilities have grown since joining the firm full-time. I have been part of the design team, working on projects from start to finish. When I interned, I would often help with one project at the beginning and then, switch gears to another project that was needing help before submittal. This year, I’m taking on something new and am mentoring our intern, Pierce.

Conner: As a full-time co-worker, I have a lot more responsibility. If I’m assigned a project, I’m sticking with it, instead of bouncing from one site to the next. Last November, I even had the opportunity to do my first solo job.

What has been different than you expected?
Jason: I think the process of working on a project from start to finish is different than I expected. I did not expect how long a project could be. I didn’t anticipate all the other aspects that go into a project besides design.

Conner: It’s very similar to what I expected. In my internship, I got to see what the job was like and knew what I was getting into.

What do you enjoy about working here?
Jason: I enjoy the coworkers I work with and being able to regularly drive by, through, and on projects that Affinis has designed. I enjoy helping improve the infrastructure I grew up with and currently use.

Conner: I love being on my own. No one is looking over my shoulder, and I have the opportunity to run projects by myself. I know they trust me to do the job, but have access to call my teammates with any questions that I might have.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning their internship?
Jason: Do not be afraid to ask questions. Picking someone else’s brain is your best friend.

Conner: I’d tell someone to ask as many questions as possible. Only you know what you don’t know, and no one will think you’re dumb for asking.

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