The following guest post was written by Kevin, about his internship experience with us this summer.
As an Auburn University Biosystems Engineering major, I learned of the opportunity to intern with Yellowstone Landscape during a presentation in one of my classes. As a large commercial landscape company, they have many locations around the country offering different divisions to learn from. I specifically chose Charleston because of the variety of departments and the location of the branch. I had finalized my decision in January, and even though the Covid-19 pandemic occurred, Yellowstone Landscape kept their agreement. I was one of the few in my university to have an in-person internship.
Before this internship I was a research assistant for the Auburn University herbicide department in extension. Thus, I had experience working with chemicals as well as the heat from being in the field. During my time here I have expanded my experience to more areas of agriculture such as business which I am minoring in, irrigation, maintenance and tree care.
The program has been somewhat different than previous years due to the pandemic. With a limited work force, I was moved to different crews quite a bit which allowed me to work in many interesting locations and to learn the background and life stories of some of the service workers. I also learned how to use equipment to simplify tasks and spent time as a mechanic repairing equipment. As an engineering student it was fascinating to see how to repair certain machines.
I felt most like an engineer during the irrigation and enhancement portion of my internship and especially while working on my project. I worked with my Mentor, Josh, and came up with a plan and proposal to prevent further erosion from around a drainage outlet located on a client property. Understanding soil conservation practices from my engineering classes made me aware of the measures needed in order to mitigate the soil loss. I learned how to develop the proposal and get quotes from vendors in order to complete this task. I also had to follow building codes and have geotechnical engineers examine the structure. Unfortunately, the time frame to complete this project will have to extend beyond the time of my internship.
Working in the irrigation division, I was able to apply the knowledge from my fluid dynamics class to understand the limits of the system. I installed a water line to the new shop, as well as repaired already installed systems, which really put my engineering knowledge to the test. It was also a great time to learn some Spanish from several of my new Hispanic friends.
Overall, this internship was a great experience and the memories I have made with these amazing people will last me throughout my life. Even though this internship did not fully align with what I hope to do after graduation; I received a valuable experience I can apply to my career.