Intern Insight: How the Atwell internship expanded my career options

What started as an intriguing internship idea has turned into a potential career path. My experience with the Atwell internship empowered me in multiple ways: I was able to work independently, strengthen my comfort in the community, and learn about an industry I had not previously considered. It is because of the internship program that I am interested in a career in the oil and gas market.

I initially learned about the internship offered by Atwell when I attended the job fair at my university. It was there that I was able to speak with supervisors and my interest in a summer in the field was sparked. It wasn’t too much longer before I decided to jump in! As a civil engineering major, it had never occurred to me that a career in oil and gas was an option for me. Now, at the end of my experience, I’m interested in pursuing this further.

Each day as a field intern for a natural gas project out of Atwell’s Cannonsburg office was different, interesting, and engaging. I was armed with an Atwell vehicle and a GPS receiver to locate gas meters and service lines on a GIS map. Whenever I had an opportunity to engage with the homeowners or community members, I was able to explain the work I was doing and represent Atwell with pride. I consider this to be my greatest accomplishment in the internship. I know my work is making an impact on the community as the county creates a map to know more about where gas meters are placed. I felt like I was part of something bigger, knowing this map will be used to keep my community members safe.

My favorite part of the internship was the people at Atwell. I always enjoyed our internship meetings and felt supported in knowing my supervisors and teammates were just a phone call away if I had any questions. In addition to the sense of connectedness and shared professional development, I was able to learn much more about navigating the weather and how to plan around weather patterns.

Before this internship, my professional interests were aligned with the construction industry. This internship reinforced that interest. There were days when I was visiting a field site still under construction to locate the meters. That activity alone granted me more insight into how a home is built and where the service lines are and how the meter placement is planned. In addition to construction, Atwell taught me a degree in civil engineering can also be used for erosion and sedimentation engineering.

The internship also reinforced the value of safety in the field. The project I was working on itself was commissioned because of mislabeled wires that caused a housefire. After just a few weeks on the job, I was able to look at homes with a different perspective and understood why this internship was both important for my community and beneficial to my professional development.

It was clear throughout the internship that the people at Atwell genuinely wanted to help the interns learn and grow as much as we could. Most recently, we’ve been reading a book on building relationships that I’ve really enjoyed.

To anyone interested in an internship with Atwell, I’d highly recommend the experience. There is an abundance of help to transition from student into the professional landscape. There’s no sense of being “thrown to the wolves”, and it’s not like anything I’ve experienced in the classroom. Each intern is tasked with responsibilities that can feel overwhelming at first but quickly become manageable. The internship was flexible, and the journey to a new site each day made the work feel novel and exciting.  And, as an added benefit, everyone at the company was very friendly. It was an incredibly valuable experience and I’m happy I had the opportunity to learn and grow from it.

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