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CDM Smith's Intern Program Prevails during the Pandemic

August 7, 2020
2020 saw its fair share of cancel­la­tions, but CDM Smith’s Summer Intern Program was not among the losses.

The coronavirus pandemic interrupted our daily lives globally, causing campuses to shut down, devastating businesses and the economy, resulting in closures and the shift to a remote workforce. Many companies did not have the bandwidth to bring on interns for the summer, let alone stay afloat due to the disruption. According to Glassdoor, internship opportunities available in the U.S. in May 2020 were cut in half compared to May 2019 offerings.

Not CDM Smith’s.

interns
different schools
CDM Smith office locations

“While I know many firms canceled their programs and withdrew their commitments when the pandemic hit, we never even considered that path,” said Tim Wall, CDM Smith Chairman and CEO. “Interns are important to our future and our team worked hard to make sure they still had an engaging and professionally enriching experience this summer, as well as some fun along the way.”

Wall, who started his career journey at CDM Smith as a co-op hire in 1991, is a testament to the program’s effectiveness in kick-starting amazing careers. Each summer, the firm fills a range of intern positions in both technical and corporate departments, exposing students to career possibilities in engineering, consulting and construction for water, transportation, environment, industrial, and energy and facilities markets, as well as the many corporate functions that support the main business. Interns are paid and work full-time for 10-12 weeks, usually May through August.

Interns video chat with Chairman and CEO Tim Wall. Intern groups video chatted with Chairman and CEO Tim Wall as part of a networking competition.

The 100 participants in this summer’s cohort stemmed from 70 different schools and were assigned to one of 43 CDM Smith office locations. Most began their internship from home in May when their laptops and hardware arrived in the mail. While working remotely was a physical and mental adjustment, CDM Smith made the transition easily. Investments in cloud-based technology coupled with an invaluable, dedicated Business Technology team ensured employees had the tools to connect and collaborate virtually and were properly equipped to provide legendary client service outside the walls of CDM Smith offices.

In addition to joining professionals in their respective fields, interns got to know each other by taking part in a Group Networking Competition directed by CDM Smith’s college recruiting team. Twenty-five teams of four interns competed in weekly networking challenges that helped strengthen their relationships with colleagues, experts and leaders throughout the firm, and facilitated their integration into CDM Smith’s culture. Interns also enjoyed the Lunch and Learn presentation series, which invited several leaders to speak about CDM Smith’s various firmwide programs and initiatives. Access to CDM Smith’s online learning platform, ContinUum, offered a training plan tailored to interns, as well as countless courses and knowledge-based resources for on-demand learning. CDM Smith’s college recruiting team also conducted professional development sessions, including Resume Review Sessions to advise the students on building a strong resume and Coffee and Careers Sessions for graduating seniors looking for full-time employment opportunities.

CDM Smith’s commitment to the interns this summer really speaks volumes about the company, and despite the difficulties of remote interning, this has been a great work experience.
Joel Porterfield, GIS Specialists Intern, North­east­ern Illinois University

Interns were also challenged to a t-shirt design contest. The winning design by project controls intern Zunubia Vohra (Texas A&M University) was printed on t-shirts and sent to each intern as a gift.

Zunubia Vohra and her winning t-shirt design. Project controls intern Zunubia Vohra (Texas A&M University) won the t-shirt design contest. 
I cannot express my gratitude to the company and its leaders for pushing forward with the intern program. I was blown away by the amount of support I received and I was able to gain so much insight into different career paths. My experience solidified my desire to be part of the CDM Smith community.
Lillian Taylor, Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering Intern, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

In addition to CDM Smith’s Summer Internship Program, the firm also offers co-operative (co-op) oppor­tu­ni­ties for students enrolled in a full-time, under­grad­u­ate or graduate program. Co-op positions are also full-time and paid, lasting 6 months with typical cycles running from January-June (spring) and July-December (fall). For mid-career profes­sion­als looking for “returnship” oppor­tu­ni­ties, CDM Smith’s Reboot Re-Entry Program is a 16-week program for those who left their STEM career for 2+ years and are looking to return to work. Reboot positions are paid, full-time temporary opportunities to help returners train and rejoin peers in their field. 

students and recent grads students and recent grads
Student and Recent Grad Oppor­tu­ni­ties
Grow your professional career, develop expertise and work on inspiring, groundbreaking solutions that shape tomorrow. We provide a challenging and stimulating environment and are committed to employee career development and growth.

CDM Smith’s summer interns worked across various disciplines, including:

  •  Accounting 
  • Archi­tec­ture
  • Automation Engineering
  • Business Technology
  • Civil Engineering 
  • Construc­tion 
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering
  • Finance
  • Geot­ech­ni­cal Engineering
  • GIS Specialists
  • Legal
  • Marketing
  • Planning
  • Project Controls
  • Structural Engineering 
  • Trans­porta­tion Engineering 
  • Water Resources Engineering

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Celebrating National Intern Day!
To celebrate National Intern Day, CDM Smith's interns took over our Instagram stories during the last week of July. See what a day in their life was like by checking out our Instagram story highlight!
My experience this summer has been more valuable than I could have imagined. I am glad CDM Smith ensured that the intern program continued through this pandemic.
Breanna Moak Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering Intern, Colorado School of Mines
My experience this summer has been more valuable than I could have imagined. I am glad CDM Smith ensured that the intern program continued through this pandemic.
Breanna Moak Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering Intern, Colorado School of Mines
This summer has been a great push towards new oppor­tu­ni­ties, experiences, networking and helping me become successful.
Mohammad Salibi Construction Intern, University of Houston
This summer has been a great push towards new oppor­tu­ni­ties, experiences, networking and helping me become successful.
Mohammad Salibi Construction Intern, University of Houston
I worked on an advanced water treatment plant that will supply potable water to a Marine Corps base. The team onsite motivated me and further increased my passion in construction engineering and management.
David Uribe Construction Intern, California State Polytechnic University
I worked on an advanced water treatment plant that will supply potable water to a Marine Corps base. The team onsite motivated me and further increased my passion in construction engineering and management.
David Uribe Construction Intern, California State Polytechnic University
During my internship, I learned how CDM Smith brings new, more sustainable and environmentally friendly treatment methods to the mainstream.
Alexandra Barron Environmental Engineering Intern, Texas A&M University
During my internship, I learned how CDM Smith brings new, more sustainable and environmentally friendly treatment methods to the mainstream.
Alexandra Barron Environmental Engineering Intern, Texas A&M University
I have had the great opportunity to be part of the Houston Northeast Water Purification Plant Expansion Project and I have learned many things in the field and in the office.
Celia Pacheco Construction Intern, University of Houston
I have had the great opportunity to be part of the Houston Northeast Water Purification Plant Expansion Project and I have learned many things in the field and in the office.
Celia Pacheco Construction Intern, University of Houston

CDM Smith is a privately owned engineering and construction firm providing legendary client service and smart solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities. Passionate about our work and invested in each other, we are inspired to think and driven to solve the world's environmental and infrastructure challenges.