Summer Internship: A Day in the Life of Isabella Ojeda

June 9, 2023
Isabella Ojeda on the job at her internship at Reyes Construction.

Summer Internship: A Day in the Life of Isabella Ojeda, a civil engineering student at SDSU. Learn more about Isabella's experiences as a summer civil engineering intern and find resources to pursue an internship of your own below.

Hi! My name is Isabella Ojeda. I go by she/her/ella pronouns and I’m a rising
sophomore studying Civil Engineering at San Diego State University. This summer, I’m interning this Summer at Reyes Construction Inc. as a Student Civil Engineer Intern.

Read more about my internship in the Q&A below.

What kinds of projects do you work on in an average day? 
On an average day, I review submittals, create RFIs, update as-built drawings, write quality control daily reports, and go out for field inspections. I’ve been learning the plans for three different jobs within Reyes: a bike lane in Barrio Logan, fixing a landslide in Camp Pendleton, and upgrading the perimeter fence at MCRD San Diego, which is the job I’m located at. It’s been so fascinating seeing the entire process of a job move along - there’s so many moving parts most people wouldn’t think about, especially with ridgid rules working on a military base.

What has been a highlight for you in your internship so far?
I’ve gotten to learn so much being both in the office and on site and have seen so much work that directly relates to my major and ideally what I’d like to do in the future. I’ve really enjoyed being out in the field when there’s concrete pourings and seeing the concrete being tested for slump and air content. I’ve also witnessed the demolition of the existing perimeter fence of MCRD and how they dig foundation trenches for rebar to be installed and later concrete to be poured into. Because MCRD is considered a historical site, all the stucco applied is a yellow-color approved by MCRD to match the historic look of the other buildings.

How does the internship connect to your other experiences as an SDSU student, both inside and outside of the classroom?
This internship has opened my eyes to how helpful and insightful instructors and curriculum are at SDSU. There’s a good number of topics I’ve covered in class that I’ve seen since I’ve started with Reyes Construction, including AutoCAD and BlueBeam. Also, being part of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) at SDSU has brought me so many opportunities to learn how different professionals go about their workdays to determine which companies are most suitable for me. Although I didn’t meet Reyes through SHPE, I’ve appreciated their guidance in finding what type of workplace fits me best.

How do you see this internship influencing the next steps in your career?
This internship has helped me make connections between coursework and the engineering industry and giving me a clear understanding of what I want to focus my studies on within Civil engineering. Having this experience will help me have more leadership, scholarship, and internship opportunities within San Diego. Learning and growing my knowledge of engineering and the various aspects to see in the field and in the office would be great experiences to share with youth considering joining engineering. Despite being the only woman in the field, I feel like I belong and that I’ve grown, and I hope other women in STEM are encouraged to enter the industry. I’d love to share my experiences with others in hopes it inspires them to chase the career of their dreams.

Are you a student seeking an internship or career guidance? Contact SDSU Career Services and/or the College of Engineering Career & Internships Coordinator.

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