Nowadays, internships are a natural step during a student’s undergraduate or graduate path toward a successful career. Given the competitive nature of the professional world, it can be a challenge to find an entry-level position without having valuable work, knowledge, or research experience under your belt first. That is why internships are vital for college students who want to enter the permanent workforce. As an intern for Primera’s Transportation Division for almost a year, I have firsthand experience of the many benefits of working an internship prior to graduation, and would highly recommend it! My internship has been a uniquely, advantageous experience thus far, and has prompted me to create the top 5 reasons to be an intern with Primera:
1: The Lure
I first came across Primera Engineers at a career fair at my school – the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). After exploring several companies’ websites, Primera was immediately a stand-out firm for me. Primera’s emphasis on exceptional expertise with superb service made me hopeful and optimistic in the professional experience that I would gain there. However, what impressed me the most was that the outstanding qualities they promoted also stood behind the face of the company – Primera is one of the largest woman-owned engineering design and consulting firms in the region. At the time when the company was founded, it had already earned the reputation for being one of the few (and best) Hispanic-owned minority business enterprises in Chicago. To this day, Primera fosters a culture of diversity and social-responsibility that is mutually beneficial to employees and the community.
During my previous semester I was enrolled in several classes, and currently, I am writing my thesis. Trying to balance a consistent work schedule around classes and exams can get hectic. Luckily, everyone at Primera is completely understanding about my academic obligations and make it very easy for me to manage both commitments. With UIC being conveniently located near the Chicago office, I can work half-days or leave early for class when necessary. Primera is a people-first organization, and their commitment to their employees is evident through their flexible work environment.
3: Learning Experience
I am ecstatic that I have been able to work while completing school because I am able to continue developing my engineering skills in a professional environment. The employees at Primera represent a wide range of experience levels and there isn’t one person there that I am uncomfortable working with. Everyone has a unique perspective to offer and all are willing to play the role of mentor to help contribute to my growth. Primera is a large enough firm to be undergoing National expansion, but I also don’t feel like I get lost in the numbers.
4: I have responsibilities!
Primera’s senior staff is good about listening to their employees and their feedback. I have been able to communicate my interests to managers and they have found projects that align with what I want to learn. In the past year, I have seen quite the spectrum of projects and assignments. I have worked on a variety of tasks within a project’s life-cycle that have given me a better understanding of the overall scope of a project. I feel both important and properly utilized. Having actual responsibilities has helped me achieve a level of confidence in my own capabilities and preparedness for the workforce.
While I don’t receive health insurance or benefits (typical of any internship), there are plenty of daily ‘perks’ that come with working for Primera. I am properly compensated and don’t need to eat three square meals of ramen noodles a day, like other college students. Oftentimes, I don’t even need to buy my own food because there will be donuts in the kitchen, lunch provided for a meeting, or an ice cream sundae bar set up just for the fun of it! If I want to take a break from my computer for a bit, I can go to the lounge and play a game of ping-pong or giant Jenga. As for outside of work, there are always several Primera-sponsored activities to get involved with. Some of my personal favorites this past summer were running the corporate challenge, playing on the Primera volleyball team, and being involved with the firm’s annual give back day at El Valor in the Little Village neighborhood. Primera also has a special intern outing day where they took us to an escape room and lunch, as a way to bond with my other fellow interns. I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to build social relationships with my coworkers, even ones in different areas and divisions. And lastly, I feel that going into work and being fully supported in my work environment is a major perk within itself.
If you or anyone you know are interested in an internship with Primera check out their careers page here.