Of Minnesota’s two seasons, winter and construction, the later is the busiest time of year for Sandman Structural Engineers. To help alleviate the extra workload in the summer, Sandman likes to hire engineering interns, providing them with entry-level training and exposure to real-world projects in return.

“Our creativity really sets us apart, so when we hire someone, we’re looking for people who can think outside the box,” said HR Specialist Emily Kraemer. “Good communication skills is top of the list, as well as candidates who are a good fit with the company culture and looking for opportunities to grow.”

This year they found those traits in Austin Andrews, Andrew Nelson and Brett Overvold, three civil engineering majors who were able to connect with this valuable opportunity through the SciTech Internship Program.

From dreams to reality
One of Sandman’s goals when hiring interns is to establish a pipeline for potential full-time employment. This begins with introductory training, understanding that for many students this is likely the first time they’re applying their skills in an industry setting. To set them off on the right foot, Sandman equips its interns with the tools, base knowledge and team support necessary to build confidence before taking on projects of their own.

“After the training, I was set free to start working on projects without heavy pressure,” Overvold recalled. “I was able to do a wide array of things, trying everything from the ground up; from wood frames to steel frames to concrete designs. I was exposed to everything we haven’t touched on yet in school.”

Andrews started his internship by shadowing and collaborating with one of Sandman’s engineers, working on their commercial team. It wasn’t long before he was given a project of his own and was tasked with designing a scoreboard for a local high school. Going on site and working directly with the client, he said, “is a great way for young engineers to learn. Seeing it in person and not just on 2D paper, it’s a whole different world. My dream is to work on sports venues, so to have my first project be a scoreboard was pretty cool.”

Nelson was assigned to steel focused projects, helping to back-check pedestrian bridges across the country. He then spent a month training on related programs so he could apply that knowledge to design components for electrical sub-stations.

All for one
The projects they got to work on and the skills they developed during their time at Sandman were incredibly valuable, but on top of that, all three interns agreed that the acceptance and encouragement they received from their team made the experience especially memorable.

“The projects really stuck with me, other companies couldn’t provide that, but it was definitely the people here, they were number one,” Nelson said.

“They’re extremely invested in their employees,” Andrews agreed. “There’s as many opportunities as you’re willing to take to grow and learn, and everyone will be there right by your side to help. You’ll never really be lost here. You might be challenged at times as an intern, but they’re always there to help and guide you along the growth process.”

“At Sandman, we all have similar personalities,” Overvold added, “and when that community comes together you can really see that thrive.”

Get Involved!
SciTech’s 2024 Program Year is underway! New and returning students hoping to secure paid internships of their own can enroll or renew their previous accounts.

Startups and small companies looking to hire interns and access state grants, can sign up here and start posting their jobs today.