Name: Kabish Shah
Title: Mechanical Engineering Project Intern at The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
School: University of Maryland Baltimore County
Majors: Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics
Watch the video above to get an inside look into a mechanical engineering internship.
After touring the construction site for his school's new performing arts building, Kabish Shah could see himself working at the construction management and general contracting company and applied for a summer internship through UMBC's Shriver Center.
"Before this internship, I was pretty open because as a mechanical engineer … my choices are really broad," Shah said, "but construction was definitely one of the choices and as soon as I found out about this, it was like a dream come true."
Shah, who is entering his final year at UMBC, took the offer to work as a paid mechanical engineering project intern for The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in April, before summer even began.
He expected that work would be solitary, but the experience has been "totally different."
"I have no boss here [but] a senior leader who gives me projects. They're always here helping me, training me [and] showing me things rather than just leaving me out in the dark," Shah said.
In addition to helping the engineers on their projects, he also works on auditing, cost tracking and budgeting.
In light of recent debates over the legality of unpaid internshipsacross the country, Shah said being paid gives interns who might otherwise be distracted by other priorities more of an incentive to work hard.
But being paid was only one of the positives about his internship, Shah said. It also allowed him to make a positive contribution to UMBC.
"I believe in giving back to the community, so being a student at UMBC and working on a project at UMBC, I feel like I'm giving something back to the school, and I'm really proud of that," he said.
This fall, Shah will be extending his internship with the company. After graduation, he hopes to work full-time.
"I just literally cannot wait for the day to move my graduation tassel from right to left and schedule an interview for full-time employment with Whiting-Turner [and] start as a project engineer," he said.
About this series: As part of our jobs reporting, Patch is profiling people on internships throughout Maryland, focusing on the issue of paid and unpaid positions. Should interns be paid? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor's Note: This story was written by a paid intern at Patch.