My name is Laura Saleh and I am interning with Land Development in Pittsburgh, Pa. I started in May, after my junior year at Penn State ended, and have been thoroughly enjoying my time here. I assist with anything ranging from permitting on new projects to creating stormwater construction details in AutoCAD.

The most important aspect I have learned thus far is how much thought and planning goes into a construction or oil/gas project. I never thought about the process before, but since working here, I have gotten a first hand look at what goes into land development. It has opened my eyes to the world around me, and I am able to spot things in my everyday life relating to this area of work that I did not before. For example, we are currently finishing a Sewage Facilities Planning Module for an apartment complex in Pittsburgh that was previously a church. We had to contact multiple people and agencies in order to get this done, like Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh City Planning, and PA Department of Environmental Protection. I never realized the process taken in projects to ensure everything is carefully thought out and accounted for, and it makes me appreciate this service area even more.

The most valuable skill I’ve learned here is using AutoCAD. As an aspiring biological engineer, AutoCAD will always be relevant in my field, so it is great to be getting to use it this summer. Whether I keep working with land development projects or go into more wastewater engineering, AutoCAD will be important.

I have felt very useful here, as people inside Land Development as well as other service areas such as Energy and Environmental Engineering Services have reached out to me for help on projects. It is nice to see what other service areas work on and what other engineers get involved in. In the past two months I have been at RETTEW, I have learned skills that truly make a positive difference in society and I am excited to see where it takes me.