Published on: 15/04/2020

Reflection on the Summer Vacation Program 2020

Reflection on the Summer Vacation Program 2020

EEI appreciate that it is a daunting time for engineering and science students trying to plan their futures in an uncertain economy. We want to reassure prospective students that we are still considering future internship applications.

In February, prior to social distancing, we sat down with the interns who completed our summer vacation program to reflect on their experiences. We hope it is good motivation for students to continue to look for practical experience opportunities and stay engaged with EEI.


What attracted you to this position?

“What really drew me to it was [that] I knew that the things I studied in University were going to be applied in this specific role, which is what I wanted.” -Ted, 5th year mechanical engineering and finance student

It was a wastewater engineering consulting company; I’m very interested in water engineering, so I decided to take this opportunity.” -Calvin, 4th year civil engineering student

“What drew me to the position was that I would be able to participate in meetings with clients and practical stuff like project management.” -Thanh, graduate chemical engineer


What kind of work did you perform during your internship?

“For the first few months… I was given a project [to select a pump]. I had to learn about all of this because I didn’t really learn pump selection in University. I knew the general theory about [my project], how the environment affects materials, what flow rate means… I knew that, but I did have to do a bit of study on how to apply that to pump selection. But after that I was able to contact suppliers and seek specific pumps that would cater towards the project details.”-Ted

During my three-month placement I worked on the master plan project … I worked on a wastewater treatment plant design, and also worked on the water balance for an evaporation pond design as well.

I worked with my supervisor on the master plan… and it was quite challenging, but he guided me through the master plan and I gained a lot of skills, such as efficient research, and also to judge and make engineering assumptions.” -Calvin

How would you describe the working environment?

It was quite different from my previous experiences. For example, we had contact with the CEO, so if we had any questions or we were struggling with the project, we could just go to Raj’s office for help.” -Calvin

What was the best part about working with EEI?

The best part of this placement was modelling the water balance. I had a great opportunity; I did everything in Excel, and once I had finished the water balance modelling, I designed an evaporation pond for the project. It was a good experience for me; I learned a lot of good things from the project.” -Calvin

 “[I remember] Thanh worked on the Anammox project, and he needed some help with sourcing materials and designing the setup of the experiment. The best part [of the internship] was working with him to design the setup of the experiment. It was like we were both learning at the same time.” -Ted

If you could start over, what would you do differently?

I would not have done anything differently because I would not have learnt what I know now. I wouldn’t change anything; I gained a lot of experience from working here.” -Calvin

“I would come into the internship with a more positive attitude. There were times where I would be given work, and I would think, “I don’t want to do this!” … So if I did have to do it again, I would say, don’t expect to do what you want to do; just expect to learn with the work they give you.” -Ted

What was it like to work with your mentors?

I had the pleasure of working with Peter Rice, who helped me with the water balance modelling. And Nathan, he was a great mentor for me; he guided me, and we worked together most of the time for the master plan.” -Calvin

“I think [Peter] was one of the best mentors I have ever met. He knows what it’s like for an intern to struggle, to get frustrated, so he always encouraged me to keep moving forward.” -Thanh

“I learned from Raj, even if university takes you four years… the learning doesn’t stop there… you’re always constantly learning. If you stop learning, you start becoming useless. It’s a constant form of education, and you have to better yourself as well, to remain competitive in the job market.” -Ted

The Future

What suggestions would you give to someone who is about to start in your role?

“Come into the internship with a very open mind… I would say don’t expect anything so you won’t be frustrated in the work they give you. Because with the work they do give you, you will learn no matter what. Just keep in mind, with every problem something different has to be learned. And that might not be something you want to do at the moment, but at the end of your career every little bit helps.” -Ted

I think the best advice I could give is don’t get frustrated easily, keep pushing forward. Sometimes the project might be delayed, sometimes people might not have time for you. So take initiative, be patient, and believe in yourself.” -Thanh

Last thoughts

From the team here at EEI, we want to thank our interns for all of their hard work over the summer vacation period and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Every year EEI’s vacation program gives university students and graduates the opportunity to gain experience with hands on projects to equip them for future success. We are currently advertising for expressions of interest in the internship program.

EEI’s staff are working from home to play our role in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. Successful internship applicants may be engaged for remote interview and desktop work experience from home while our office is closed. The safety of EEI’s staff, interns, and clients is our number one priority. EEI aim to welcome successful interns to our West Perth office for further practical experience once the relevant government authorities have recommended normal business practice resume.