Sam Lamichhane, a MnDOT summer intern from Howard University,
demonstrating pavement-testing technology with Bernard Izevbekhai of MnDOT
When the summer began, Samrakshak Lamichhane wasn’t certain what a typical work day might look like after graduation. But thanks to a new internship program, Lamichhane and three other undergraduates got a taste of real-world operations and gained insight for their future career paths.
The eight-week Summer Transportation Internship Program was developed in partnership by CTS, the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Institute, Howard University, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Its purpose was to provide an opportunity for students to gain professional experience and skills that will complement their academic pursuits.
Through the program, the students gained practical knowledge about MnDOT, learned about its operations,
and worked on transportation-focused projects.
Chelsey Palmateer interned with MnDOT’s
Metro District Office.
Autumn McDowell was placed in MnDOT's Office
of Statewide Multimodal Planning.
Yusuf Abdi interned with MnDOT's Office of
Out of 34 applicants, four students were selected:
“The internship involved a lot of learning experience and exposure to the real-world environment,” Lamichhane says. “I have learned that on-the-job learning, with college education as a background, is the way to success.”
During his internship, Lamichhane worked with Bernard Izevbekhai, MnDOT research operations engineer, at the MnROAD pavement research facility. They submitted a paper about their work—“2011 Low-Volume Road Construction Cell 28 Stabilized Partial Depth Reclamation Construction Quality Assurance Testing”—to the Transportation Research Board, and Lamichhane presented the paper in August to MnDOT staff.
“Sam’s enthusiasm for learning and communication were just some of the talents shared during his very productive, yet much too brief, internship,” says John Siekmeier, Lamichhane’s supervisor/mentor.
Palmateer says she thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity that the internship provided. “I was able to finally get an idea of how I could expect to apply my degree,” she says. “I was able to observe and participate in a number of meetings as well as work on a few projects. Basically, I learned a lot about the vast amount of work and planning that goes into maintaining and improving the transportation network. I gained insight into the workings of MnDOT, and now I know where I want to end up when I graduate.”
Palmateer’s supervisor/mentor echoes the positive experience. “This was a great two-way opportunity,” says Brian Isaacson. “We got the energy and insights of a talented young engineer, and she got some great exposure to planning and programming for a variety of highway and transit efforts.”