Fort Shafter Community
BLOG: Engineer intern shares perspective on being part of Honolulu District team
By Marissa Hui
Electrical Engineer DA Intern
I joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about 10 months ago, and I instantly noticed the rich cultural identity amongst the people within the Honolulu District. As a recent Electrical Engineering graduate from the University of Portland, I was blessed to be surrounded by caring mentors, teachers, and peers. The camaraderie amongst the employees is truly something special within the district. All the different events I have attended, whether it be a pa’u hana, which is the Hawaiian phrase meaning after work event, or attending other meetings/seminars, have made me feel that I was a part of a unique and diverse team, that is the Honolulu District.
I had the opportunity to work in Project Management with the Civil and Public Works Branch as a U.S. Army Corps Pathways Intern. One of the most memorable moments was when I met with American Samoa high school students to promote/educate them on STEM careers. We took them around the district to raise awareness within their local schools on how to pursue careers in engineering. Moreover, the emphasis on respecting and taking care of the aina, which is a Hawaiian word for land, is unique to the Honolulu District. I was able to meet with various specialists in animal conservation and environmental groups, and learned about the facts and situations that occur when living on an island.
My supervisors are amazing and they were able to provide me the opportunity to transition from a Pathways Intern to a Department of Army (DA) Intern. The DA Internship program provided me more avenues to develop my technical and engineering career. I’ve been a DA Intern for less than a year, and I’ve already attended multiple conferences and trainings, specifically regarding electrical design and learning about the requirements in designing facilities. Another benefit of being a DA Intern on Oahu was the privilege of coordinating multiple rotations within the district. I was able to working in the Electrical Engineering design branch, where my colleges worked to build me up as a future electrical engineer. The once in a lifetime experiences and the mentorship of my coworkers make work an enjoyable learning environment.
Another rotational assignment placed me on a mega project on Fort Shafter base. Working on a project of this magnitude is rare in Hawai’i, and was a huge opportunity for me to develop my career by experiencing the construction of a major facility. My team of coworkers encouraged me to ask questions and visit the job site often, in order to learn the different electrical and telecommunication construction requirements that is needed for a mega project.
As I approach a year of being a part of the team, I can reflect back on all the situations I have experienced, and am already eagerly anticipating those to come. The many opportunities to learn and grow, not just as a DA intern but as a part of the Honolulu district ohana, or family, are so unique. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to be a DA Intern with the Honolulu District, and the possibilities to grow are infinite.