Skip to main content

Our summer interns

have officially completed the

Total-Western Internship Program!

We asked them to reflect on their experience and identify their most valuable takeaways. Here’s what they had to say.

CALEB CHEUNG

How was your internship experience with Total-Western?

I came in with a stressful schedule this summer – I had to take summer class, host weekly club meetings, prepare for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam – and I was afraid I would be overwhelmed in the internship or maybe not like what I was learning. But, thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Everyone I’ve learned from, especially Miguel, has been very patient with me and I’m extremely grateful for the experience. Even if I don’t end up working for Total-Western in the future, I’ve grown so much in my professional and technical experience and would definitely recommend this internship to other friends in the field.

What was your favorite part about the program?

My favorite part was the day we got to drive forklifts as part of the training workshop. It is a testament to how at Total-Western, the interns are not stuck doing menial tasks in the office all day, but rather we’re here to gain holistic experience and have fun while at it!

What was your biggest takeaway?

My biggest takeaway was learning that no company is perfect and therefore there’s always room for growth. I was mistaken in thinking that I had nothing to offer because I had little experience in construction, but my perspective and updated understanding of technology and education proved to be more valuable than I thought. Moving forward, this will help me work with more confidence and not be too embarrassed to ask questions.

Anything that took you by surprise with this experience?

I was surprised by how much time was invested into us. I thought the internship would be more about us learning from doing the menial tasks and getting a bigger picture in a few conversations. The guest speakers and thoughtful presentations were a surprise to me and I’m extremely grateful for those sessions.

What advice would you give to other students interested in this program?

Pay attention to those working around you and don’t be afraid to ask questions! You will learn a lot from watching and observing. And if you ask questions, the people teaching you will quickly gain a better understanding of what you know and what you don’t know and can adjust your training from there.

What’s next for you?

I’ll be finishing up my last year at UCLA! I may apply to graduate school to eventually obtain a structural engineering license but more likely, I will work for a couple of years first.

TRISTIN DIAZ

How was your internship experience with Total-Western?

I had a great experience for my first internship and I feel so fortunate – I loved spending the summer at Total-Western and am very appreciative of the knowledge I gained.

What was your favorite part about the program?

My favorite part about the program were the weekly trainings. I would drive down to the Long Beach area every Friday to learn more about the construction industry, which was extremely beneficial to me because of the limited knowledge I came in with.

What was your biggest takeaway?

My biggest takeaway was the type of work environment I want to work in in the future. Total-Western has great company culture and leadership, so after seeing this, I do not want to work for a company that does not have these same traits.

Anything that took you by surprise with this experience?

I was surprised by how welcoming the leadership team at Total-Western is; I always felt heard and valued by those who work at the company. I even had many opportunities to speak to the president of the company, Payman Farrokhyar, which was unexpected and extremely valued.

What advice would you give to other students interested in this program?

I would recommend this internship program to anyone interested in project engineering and project management. There are many opportunities and events that I participated in that other internships do not offer. It was a great learning experience and a very comfortable environment to work in.

What’s next for you?

In mid-September I will be returning UCLA to begin my sophomore year. I will continue my studies aiming toward a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. I am hoping to become more involved in engineering clubs and organizations on campus as well as further my outreach in the community through various forms of community service in my spare time.

HUGO SIERRA

How was your internship experience with Total-Western?

I had a great experience and the Total-Western internship exceeded my expectations.

What was your favorite part about the program?

My favorite part was getting to know the employees of the company.

What was your biggest takeaway?

This line of work isn’t for everyone and if you don’t enjoy what you do, it will be hard to go to work.

Anything that took you by surprise with this experience?

I was really surprised by how fast-paced everything is. You really need to be on top of your work or else you will fall behind.

What advice would you give to other students interested in this program?

It can take a while to get adjusted to the construction business so don’t get discouraged – keep at it and it will be worth it.

What’s next for you?

I plan on obtaining my degree and potentially coming back to work for Total-Western!

MEET SINGH

How was your internship experience with Total-Western?

It was an amazing journey throughout. I learned a lot about the construction industry and how detailed tasks are executed on site.

What was your favorite part about the program?

Working in the field with the Total-Western team was definitely the most exciting part of the internship. I was amazed at how people from different sectors and backgrounds can all work together to coordinate tasks and logistics in a cohesive manner.

What was your biggest takeaway?

As this was my first internship in the U.S., I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I really enjoyed learning what kind of work is required for different types of construction projects as well as during different phases, such as pre-construction and post-construction. This internship gave me great exposure and experience that I’m really grateful for.

Anything that took you by surprise with this experience?

The Total-Western field staff were some of the best individuals I’ve worked with. They were all really helpful throughout the program.

What advice would you give to other students interested in this program?

Don’t hesitate on asking what may feel like even the most silly of questions. It can only help you clear your perspective while learning.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to complete my last semester of school and then I’m eager to start full-time with the Total-Western team!

———-

We strive to find interns who not only exhibit Total-Western’s core values of Safety, Operational Excellence, Teamwork, and Creativity, but who are also smart, capable, and exceptional students and individuals. We’re proud to have had these bright, young professionals in our program.

Thank you Caleb, Tristin, Hugo, and Meet for all of your contributions this summer and we wish you all the best on your future endeavors!