Summer Internship: A Day in the Life of Louis Dos Santos

July 26, 2022
Louis Dos Santos

Summer Internship: A Day in the Life of Louis Dos Santos, a Construction Engineering major at SDSU. construction engineering. Louis is interning as a field engineer with Sundt Construction, one of the top leaders in safety amongst general contractors in the nation. 

Louis with his team.

Hey, my name is Louis Dos Santos and I am currently entering my fourth year majoring in construction engineering. This summer, I was fortunate enough to intern as a field engineer with Sundt Construction, one of the top leaders in safety amongst general contractors in the nation. 

The modernization of Morse High School is the project I was assigned to, which is currently in Phase 3 of construction and two ongoing DSA projects. I was assigned to manage the RFI and submittal process of one of the DSA projects, “Building 1800 Renovation”. This school building contains two classrooms, two restrooms along with a small portable classroom. Within the role, I manage the RFI’s and submittal process for the different subcontractors per their scope of work. The unique aspect about my internship is that I was part of a small team, which allowed me to gain lots of experience quickly. 

I started the process of looking for internships through handshake, a useful platform SDSU works with to help students get involved with companies in their field of study. After a few interviews with companies, Sundt was the first to invite me back for another interview with the California District vice president and there I was offered a spot for the 2022 summer internship program. 

Here's a day in the life as a field engineer: 

5:30 am - I begin to be rudely woken up by my alarm as I mentally prepare for the day. I’ve always been an early bird so mornings aren't too difficult however they can be a drag. I brush my teeth, hop in the shower and begin to scan what I have to eat for breakfast. This typically included peanut butter toast or yogurt as I was never super big on breakfast. 

6:30 am - I head over to the job site with my coffee in one hand and bag in the other. Keep in mind I somehow am always rushing so I’ll be trying to juggle many other things in my hand along with damp hair. Luckily work is only 10 minutes from my apartment so the commute is never bad. 

6:45 am - Time for the day to start. Say my good morning to the people in the trailer. Plug in my work laptop into our two excessively large monitor screens, check any notes I had written from the day before and finally open that email up. Emailing was a huge part of this internship, ensuring I am up to date on any follow-ups for samples or new emails that came my way. 

9 am - Usually around this time, we will begin the internal meetings with the team to discuss how the process is going and any issues to be aware of. Meetings vary and they change day to day but are important to have. 

10 am - I like to go out in the field to get a visual update on the process of how our subcontractors are chugging along. Typically, this is the moment where all the laborers begin to freak out as they scramble to put on their safety glasses and gloves since that is a known requirement. 

12 pm - It's lunch time, my favorite time of the day since we are centrally located in the heart of taco shops. However I try my best to save money but some days I snatch a burrito or some nachos, and can't complain. 

1 pm - Usually things start to slow down, so it allows me to get caught up on any busy work I have been needing to complete. I also ask around my project manager or superintendent for any help, trying to stay busy and involved. 

3:30 pm - It's time to wrap it up and log off as I head through the rough gravel and rumble plates on the site to avoid trackout.

Highlights from this internship would definitely be the amount of exposure I've had on this job. There was a previous field engineer on the project - however, she left on maternity leave, so I was picking up where she left off on the building 18900 renovation from day one. I was working heavily with the project engineer the first month trying to understand the expectations and after I began to get the hang of it.

The connection between the internship and experience as an SDSU student go hand and hand. I feel this internship will have me more than ready for my upper division classes that I will continue to go through. Not only the terminology but the flow of how a construction site functions and the logistics behind decisions are all applicable.

I see this internship being the foundation of a bright future ahead of me. I am excited to see all the work being put into something I was a part of, from the submission of material to problem solving with the team on issues that could have delayed the schedule. I'm grateful to know I left a lasting effect on the modernization of this neighborhood and future for Morse High School.

Edited lightly for clarity.