Get Experience, Not Coffee: Real-World Experiences That Benefit Now and Later

February 5, 2021

At SAM, interns receive guidance from passionate and knowledgeable mentors to apply the theory they learn in the classroom, into real-world experiences. With the deadline for applying to our Summer 2021 Internship Program fast approaching, we share one perspective from a recent intern. After interning with SAM twice and currently in a full-time position, Logan Shea shares how her experience helped her excel in school and shape her career.

1. How did you hear about the SAM internship?

I interned at SAM in the summers of 2018 and 2019, while attending Texas A&M at Corpus Christi. When I decided to change my major to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), I heard about SAM through my university and a family friend who worked for the company. Texas A&M Corpus Christi has an amazing GIS student organization that hosts many companies that give informational presentations about their services and company culture. SAM made an appearance at one of these presentations and I was infatuated. I applied to many different internships, but SAM’s was far superior. At orientation, we had the chance to meet executives and they told us stories of their own careers, something my friends didn’t get to experience at their internships. SAM’s size also allowed us a look into everything the industry has to offer which gave me a better idea of which career path I wanted to take. As an intern, I gained real-life experience by working on large, important jobs that gave me a better understanding of time management to meet deadlines and the importance of quality work. I could not be happier with my decision to work at SAM.

2. Describe your day-to-day activities as an intern.

As an intern in the Houston office, I experienced many different sides of the company. The first summer, I had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time in the field, mostly on transportation projects. I was able to get hands-on experience with a lot of equipment that I didn’t have access to at school. My supervisor taught me how to do deed research in various counties, create plats, and I worked with the energy department creating alignment sheets. During my second summer interning, I worked closely with the Aerial Mapping service sector completing compilation and extraction work for a large project. I was exposed to many different programs, like AutoCAD Civil3D, that not only helped me excel when I got back to school but that I also now use in my day-to-day work. My professors had tried to teach me the program, but after my first internship, I surpassed my classmates using it. I knew it like the back of my hand, giving me an advantage when it came to, for example, field camp where I had to draw my own plat that was supposed to look like a company was delivering it. I also worked with LIDAR data during my second internship. The hardest class in the GIS program at school, by far, is remote sensing dealing with LIDAR data and photogrammetry. My mentors at SAM taught me how to distinguish different things within LIDAR data using a program called Micro-Station. I also got a ton of help perfecting my skills in arc map/catalog.

3. What was your experience like as an intern? How does it translate into how you work now?

When you hear the word internship in TV shows or movies, you think you are getting coffee for supervisors or other mundane tasks like making copies. In my two summers interning, I learned more about the field than I ever could in college. I gained incredible hands-on experience one just cannot simply get from sitting in a classroom. Entering the workforce can be intimidating, but my experience and knowledge from my internship set me up for success. The Summer Internship Program’s ultimate goal is to give you the tools you need to set you apart from others entering the workforce with you and that is exactly what they did. My experience in various parts of the company allowed me to find my specific passion within the industry. I use these tools every day.

4. Why did you choose to return to work at SAM full time after you graduated?

I graduated in May of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. I immediately started to apply anywhere that would take my application because I didn’t know if I could get a job. I reached out to my supervisor from my internships at SAM and he reassured me that he would not only help me with any recommendations but would see if the firm had any openings for me. I knew after my two summers that if there was an opening that I would be more than happy to join the team full time. SAM is a large company that has the feel of a small company because they take care of their employees. I could not have ended up with a better team to help me continue my professional development.

5. What would you tell someone interested in applying for an internship at SAM?

SAM, in no exaggeration, treats their interns with great priority. They strive to set you up for success while you are still in school and even long after. The ultimate goal of the internship program is to train students in a way that any company in the future would be lucky to hire you. If you are unsure of where exactly you want to go in the field, this internship is for you. At SAM, you have the opportunity to see everything this industry has to offer and to find the place that fits your interests best.

Learn more about our nationwide, paid opportunities and apply on our Grad & Interns page.