Sadie Schroeter Tells How Internship Helps Engineer Career

Looking for an opportunity to apply your classroom education to real-life situations and develop skills and work experience for future employment opportunities?

Get Sadie Schroeter’s views on her internship in our engineering department as she prepares to graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from University of Portland.

It’s just one of many internship opportunities we offer in disciplines such as business, finance, transportation and land-use planning, public affairs, legal, construction and information technology.

How would you describe your internship to a first grader?

I get to shadow the engineers and help them out with a lot of cool projects. I also get to go on a ton of field trips to see the work that we are doing come to life! The projects range from calculating wind loads on a light pole to tracking project changes during the construction process for record drawings.

What’s the coolest part of your internship?

The exposure I am getting to new projects and the great people I get to work with. I love being able to go out onto the airfield to look at projects and see the “behind-the-scenes” of Portland International Airport. Just the other day, I got to walk on the catwalks that oversee the baggage conveyors, taking bags from the ticket counters out to where they are picked up to be put on planes.

What should others know about internships at the Port?

The people who work here at the Port are what really set this internship aside from the others. Everyone I have met here has been friendly and fun to work with. If you put yourself out there, there are endless opportunities to learn from people who are excited to share their projects and wisdom with you. I have been interning here for about eight months now and I am still learning how extensive the Port’s projects are. One day, I would be working on stormwater calculations and then the next, I would be out on a site visit at the bag road taking measurements of airport baggage claim units.

How do you balance the demands of your work and education?

I try my best to plan set times to study and do homework, and being able to write out a weekly schedule really helps me to manage my time and not feel overwhelmed. If I ever feel like I have a million things to do and not enough time to do them, I feel comfortable talking to my manager and coming up with a game plan that best fits the tasks at hand. The Port does an amazing job at recognizing the demands of school and offers great flexibility to accommodate my schedule.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?

I am a dual citizen: USA and Australia. My siblings and I were born in California but our entire extended family still lives in South Australia. I, unfortunately, do not have the cool accent but can fake a pretty good one!

What’s your career goal with your internship?

I would love to, eventually, become a licensed engineer! I am not sure, yet, what subdiscipline I would like to focus on (stormwater, structural, geotechnical, etc.) but the Port is allowing me to get a snapshot into a wide range of different projects to help me narrow down the list.