Category: Internship

Part I: What to do When the Career Path isn’t Linear

Kimberly Peace in her early career with text overlay of blog title

Featured image: Kimberly collecting marine life samples.

Overwhelming Choices

The months of May and June can be times of big change for those who are graduating high school or college, and whether you are 18, 22 or 52, the choices that need to be made regarding next steps can feel overwhelming – what do I want to do? And how do I get there? I have a high school senior who will graduate next month, and while she has chosen a college, the path to a career is still a bit hazy, which is just fine in our household.

Taking the Unexpected Path Forward

I can’t remember the reaction when I informed my parents as I was graduating college that I was going to go to graduate school for Marine Science, but I think that’s because there wasn’t a lot of fanfare about it. I was a pretty level-headed kid and they assumed I knew something about what I was getting myself into, but as a first-generation college and graduate school student, it was all very unknown in that moment what the next few years would lead to. Today’s college costs are so much higher that the focus has skewed from becoming a learned individual towards getting a good job as being the endpoint of those four, six or eight years. If it is reassuring for any of you out there facing similar choice yourself or looking at your beautiful child who is proposing an unexpected path forward, take heart in the fact that despite not getting to work with dolphins or whales (I studied microscopic invertebrates!), I have been gainfully employed over the years and have had some fun along the way.  

The glamorous life of an aquarium staffer!

Being Open to the Alternative Opportunities that Add Depth of Character

I would also encourage you to be open to alternative opportunities – after six years of college, it might not have seemed the wisest choice to then propose to my parents that I was going to take a one-year volunteer stint as a VISTA (which became AmeriCorps VISTA that year, I still have the T-shirt with the  first logo!). But they were very proud and supportive of my desire to not enter the working world yet. I had a choice of a few options and decided to work in Senior Citizen Outreach in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Which was not in any way related to marine science, but that’s what came up and I was game for the challenge to assist this rural area. And oh yes, I waitressed to pay the rent. But that opportunity to spend a year giving back to my community full-time was one I will never regret, and I learned valuable life lessons during that year. Including how to work in a professional office, how hard it is to be a waitress, and the value of good shoes for people who are on their feet all day! I’m also proud to say that some of the programs we implemented that year are still going strong.

I coached volleyball when I was teaching high school. We won the tournament!

Making Ends Meet in the Early Years

When I was, finally, finally ready to go get a job, the jobs were not waiting for me. I ended up meandering for a year – teaching a few semesters of college and working in an optical shop, until I landed what may have felt like a dream job working for an aquarium that was just beginning to be constructed. At last, those Marine Scientist credentials got me in someplace! I spent my first day on the job monitoring the blood pressure of a shark and thought I had won the lottery. It was fun (sharks and lionfish and octopus – I have stories to share if you offer me a beverage). But unfortunately, it wasn’t a sustainable wage, and every week a fresh new face came knocking on the door wanting my job for less money, so it didn’t seem like a sustainable career choice. I taught marine science at a private high school for a year and half, which was interesting and fun in its own way, but still didn’t feel like the right fit. By then I had a husband who was working as an environmental consultant, who suggested I pull together a resume and give it a try. I was hired as a wetland scientist and permitting specialist shortly after and have moved forward on this environmental consulting career path since then.

Graduating with my Master’s in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina.

Taking Comfort in Knowing that Not all Paths are Linear

So take heart – the path to a career may not be exactly straight; you may have to eat a lot of cheap meals and work hard in jobs that are just a way to make ends meet, but every job can provide an opportunity to grow if you look hard enough. I still know many of my fellow Marine Science students who have had paths more, or less, straight than mine, and it has been fun to see them grow, change, thrive. None of them work with whales or dolphins!  The career you may end up loving or finding yourself successful in may not be the one you can see where you, or your child, is standing right now, but if you keep growing and being open to possibilities, you may find it. My co-worker Deb Coon recently decided on her “Grown Up” career at the young age of 50 and went back to school to obtain her degree. We are all proud of her accomplishments, and she serves as a role model for anyone who may be feeling like they still, after all this time, may not have the career they were looking for. Keep growing!   

Read Part II here to explore the future of Environmental Permitting as Kimberly looks back at her 30 year career in the field!

It’s National Intern Day!

Sticky Notes Graphic

The college experience can really shape your mind and prepare you for the future. It has the ability to broaden your experiences and encourage you to seek new opportunities like high school never could. It helps that there’s a lot more choice. With that choice, though, comes the responsibility of deciding what is best for you and your future. For some, that means studying abroad to better learn a language. For others, it means getting as many internship opportunities as possible.

The word internship can draw up visions of being sent for coffee and unpaid, long hours. For many, though, that isn’t the correct picture (at least not anymore). At Hoyle Tanner, we’re proud to offer internships that deliver a wide range of project experience and field work. Our interns get to work on projects from multiple disciplines within our firm and get the experience to work on reports, visit sites, assist with construction oversight, and experience working in an office setting.

This year, I asked two of our interns about their experiences as part of the Hoyle Tanner Internship Program this summer.

Haven Rose is entering his senior year of college at Florida State University. He’s joining us for the summer in our Burlington, Vermont office, working with both our Bridge and Municipal Engineering groups. His favorite part about the internship has been the field work so far, closely followed by the kind and uplifting coworker environment.

“Jon Olin and I went to do a survey of a dock that’s falling apart in Vergennes,” he said. “We went to talk to the Town Administrator, took measurements, and surveyed the structure. Now we’re writing a report about the damage. It’s fun field work that’s interesting and unique, and hopefully helps Vergennes in the future.”

Haven prefers the field work, so his experiences doing resident project representative work overseeing construction and his trip to Vergennes have been the highlights. He also listed things he’s learned, from construction site operations, to understanding how to interact in an office setting, to working more efficiently. One of the skills he’s developed most, though, is technical writing.

“My technical language has developed quite a bit,” Haven said. “I’ve surpassed the high school and college-sounding reports, and now it’s the next level of professionalism.”

Our other intern, Nick Eagan, joins us before he begins his master’s transportation program in the fall. While Haven has worked to learn about the profession and field work, Nick has already had previous internships, so his favorite experiences are more about the people he has worked with.

“It’s a hard question, what my favorite thing is,” Nick said. “Probably working with everyone and meeting new people. I started back in June before people started coming back to the office, so now that my department has people in it, that’s been my favorite thing.”

Nick also said he’s been learning new things everyday with our group. Previously, Nick interned at a Department of Transportation and interned in the field doing construction work. His experience with us, he said, has been very worth it. As for what he’d tell other interns about working here, this is what he had to say:

“There are really nice people here. The work environment and the community – probably one of the nicest positions I’ve been in.” We appreciate our interns and all they can teach us. Interested in interning or applying for a job at Hoyle Tanner? Visit our careers page! We’d love to bring you on board.

From Groundbreaking to Ribbon Cutting: An Internship with Hoyle, Tanner

Over the past three months, I have had the pleasure of being part of the Hoyle, Tanner team, primarily in the Bridges & Structures group. I have gotten to see and experience a variety of different projects at all stages, and I am grateful for this opportunity and everything I learned along the way.

Projects in Derry

The first half of my internship experience was spent in Derry, New Hampshire replacing a bridge with structurally deficient culverts on this box culvert project. Here I performed Resident Project Representative (RPR) services and observed construction from start to finish – when the excavator broke ground to when the bridge was reopened to traffic. It was very rewarding to see the full project life-cycle and be there to walk the bridge. Every day in the field there was a new step and process for me to learn and see for the first time. Being on site opened my eyes to how many people are involved in the entirety of a project. Now I better understand the client, contractor, and engineer’s roles in making a project successful. For example, Hoyle, Tanner, the contractor, and the Town worked together to make field changes as needed.

Working on this project also introduced me to new engineering computer programs such as Bluebeam, MicroStation, and Mathcad that allowed me to edit drawings, review check sets and create other engineering documents. User efficiency greatly improved from the first days of using a program compared to after a couple of months.

Projects in Bedford

The last half of my internship has been spent in Bedford, New Hampshire where I took on day-to-day inspections of a gas main project. My duty there was to make sure the trench is properly backfilled and compacted and make sure everything goes according to plan. This role was rewarding because it allowed me to work more independently. I frequently communicated with the client on day-to-day progress and was the bridge of communication to the site.

At Hoyle, Tanner I was welcomed with open arms (virtually) and felt like I belonged. I am thankful my supervisor emphasized spending as much time in the field as I could because the experience taught me valuable lessons. I enjoyed the team environment and how my questions were encouraged by everyone. This opportunity brought me new experience and knowledge, and has increased my interest in field work. I’d like to personally thank Matthew Low, PE for providing me with this opportunity, Josif Bicja, PE for showing me what it takes to be a great engineer, and Katie Welch, EIT for guiding me along the way.

Derry, NH Box Culvert Replacement Project

An Internship Like No Other


This past summer I worked as a full-time intern for Hoyle, Tanner’s Transportation and Environmental groups, and will continue in a part-time capacity during school. I graduated from the UNH College of Engineering and Physical Sciences with a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering in May, but am continuing at UNH to pursue a Master of Engineering degree with a focus in water resources. I hope to one day move towards coastal engineering, specifically sea level rise modeling and climate change adaptation, as it becomes a more widespread field.

Prior Experience

Prior to starting my internship at Hoyle, Tanner I worked during school in the GIS lab for the UNH Earth Systems Research Center and the previous two summers interned at other engineering firms. That experience provided me a solid base for continuing work in the industry, and much of this foundational knowledge allowed me to further my development as a young engineer and expand my toolbox while working here at Hoyle, Tanner.

Hoyle, Tanner

Having previously worked at two other consulting firms, I started the Hoyle, Tanner internship expecting more of the same, but I was quickly thrown in the deep end and found myself experiencing a whole host of new challenges. One thing stood out as a very positive sign to me early on at Hoyle, Tanner, for my first time while working in the industry, I started doing work that felt like my own. Rather than working on tasks with clearly laid-out goals and outcomes I was given opportunities to solve new problems in collaboration with multi-disciplinary teams. I did fieldwork and site visits, learned new software tools to model hydraulic systems, and applied concepts from my academic experience to real-world scenarios. At Hoyle, Tanner I had the freedom to prove myself and the support system necessary to succeed. This type of work helped me feel a sense of responsibility for the company; I found myself more committed to and focused on the job because I felt like a valued member of the team rather than a temporary worker meant to help with menial tasks.

From my first day, I’ve been constantly seeing ways that this company is trying to innovate and evolve. Throughout the summer I regularly heard about new technologies Hoyle, Tanner wanted to implement, and I saw many of my coworkers’ commitment to pursuing additional training and bettering themselves as engineers. This includes expanding Hoyle, Tanner’s capabilities into entirely new fields. To me, this feels like a company where you have the opportunity to stand out, separate yourself from the crowd, and be challenged to innovate and excel in your field.


During my internship with Hoyle, Tanner I was able to work on a wide variety of projects and perform an even wider variety of tasks. My supervisor did a great job of ensuring that I got some experience in many areas to find what type of work I enjoyed most. I helped with roadway resurfacing projects, a pump station replacement, asset management, MS4 permit compliance, and construction inspection, among others. Working on so many different projects helped to keep the summer fresh and exciting, and getting exposure to so much helped me learn a ton about new topics, technologies, analysis methods, and project development.


Drone Flight:

  • I was able to go to a Maine airfield to do a drone training day. Hoyle, Tanner has implemented drone surveys for projects and has invested in staff getting drone pilot licenses. We laid out ground control points across the site, and flew the drone both by hand and by using flight planning applications. It was a lot of fun to go out and fly the drones, and I really liked that the company seemed to see their potential in future work and was willing to invest in the emerging technology.

Construction Inspection:

  • During my summer here I had the opportunity to spend some time doing construction inspections while our normal Resident Project Representative (RPR) was on vacation. I got a ton of working knowledge by going out in the field and watching things actually be built. I was able to see paving, excavation, grading, compacting, placing curbs and headwalls, and laying conduit. Seeing the other side of these projects definitely helped give me a better understanding of the practicality of engineering designs in the field, and the RPR role in assuring everything goes smoothly.

Sewer Modeling:

  • While at Hoyle, Tanner I was able to work on a couple of projects requiring sewer modeling, for which I learned to use SewerCAD. I had previously used EPANet, a similar program, but SewerCAD has much higher functionality. This was one of my favorite tasks from my whole internship – I was able to apply hydraulic concepts learned in the classroom and manipulate useful software to solve a complicated problem. It was very rewarding to familiarize myself with a new program, build an accurate hydraulic model of a real-world piping network, and successfully simulate flow scenarios to assess the system performance.


I really enjoyed working with Hoyle, Tanner this summer. I gained a ton of knowledge and experience, and have nothing but good things to say about everyone I worked alongside. Hoyle, Tanner did a great job of integrating me into the team and making me feel like a real engineer, rather than just a temporary employee. I look forward to continuing my work with Hoyle, Tanner throughout this school year, and entering the real world far more prepared for a career in engineering.

Getting the Most Out of Your Engineering Internship

Grace Mulleavey's Intern Testimonial

Internships are a great opportunity to network with professionals in your industry, build skills for your resume and also learn more about yourself and what you want from your professional career.

About 75% of college students complete an internship before graduation — a number that is rising due to the increasing evidence that internships are the most foolproof way to secure full time employment after graduation. Internships are competitive and if you want to be remembered you need to do more than just show up and do the minimum of what’s being asked of you. If you want to stand out and increase the likelihood of turning your internship into an opportunity for full time employment keep the following in mind.

Be Punctual and Prepared: Think of your internship as an audition for the big play or a tryout for the varsity soccer team. You need to be on your “A” game from start to finish. This means showing up on time, well rested, dressed appropriately and prepared with all the materials you need to do what is expected of you. As an intern you are a guest of the company, do not make them regret welcoming you into their space. Prove yourself to be a reliable colleague and a valuable addition to the workplace by meeting your deadlines and coming prepared for anything.

Pursue Excellence: Most likely your internship will come along with a variety of tasks, some that interest you and others that do not. The point is to approach each project with the same enthusiasm as the project that excites you the most. Even if a job seems easy, stay determined and do your best work. Everybody works differently and sometimes it takes a while for an employer to adjust to the time and efficiency of your work. If you find yourself finishing your work with extra time to spare do not just sit at your desk and surf the internet until the next task comes along. Be proactive, having extra time is the perfect opportunity to stand out and set yourself apart from other interns. Volunteer to do a project others don’t want or start working on something that needs to get done, but nobody has specifically asked you to do. By taking initiative and doing the unexpected, you will definitely give your employer something to remember.

Be Independent: An internship is a learning experience, and just like taking a college course, it is highly unlikely you will coast through it without having questions and understanding how everything should be done. The difference, however, is that in a college class it is the teacher’s job to help you; during an internship it is your job to help your employer. Unlike in school, in the professional world there is such thing as a stupid question. If a question arises, do not run straight to your boss and ask the answer. Be resourceful. Most of the time the answer you are looking for can be found through internal company resources or answered by a fellow intern. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should not ask any questions. After all, your internship is an opportunity for you to learn and grow professionally. However, the questions you should ask should be well thought out, insightful and bring something new to the table that maybe your employer hadn’t thought of before. Thoughtful questions are always appreciated and will even set you apart from the competition. Just be careful not to be the intern who wastes valuable time asking for answers that you could have come to on your own.

Build Relationships: When it comes to internships, networking is just as important as your official job responsibilities. Although it’s tempting and less frightening to only socialize with other interns, they won’t be any help come graduation time when you are frantically looking for a job. It can be intimidating but do your best to form strong relationships throughout your organization. Having mentors during your internship will not only help you to complete your job responsibilities effectively, but will also enhance your own personal growth. Establishing a meaningful relationship takes time and effort, and will not happen overnight. However, taking a network of contacts away from an internship will be extremely valuable to you not just after graduation, but for the entirety of your professional career.

Document the Experience: Take the time to make note of what you are doing throughout your internship. You should try your best to jot down the tasks you completed every day, as well as how you felt about them. What did you do well? What did you struggle with? What excited you? What didn’t you enjoy? This will be a tremendous help when it’s time to add your internship experience to your resume. You will also learn more about yourself and more specifically, what you are looking for from your professional career in the future.

An internship is the perfect opportunity to start building a professional portfolio. Listing coursework, experiences and strengths on a resume is not going to be enough to convince your future potential employers to hire you. For the most part, they want to see a physical product of your work and proof that you can walk the talk. Take the time to save the work you are proudest of. At the end of your internship, don’t be afraid to ask for letters of recommendation. By asking now as opposed to later when you actually need one, you will be saving yourself from the hardship of having to track down an individual willing to write one.

For most students, an internship serves as an introduction to the professional world, which is far different from the classroom. For that reason, as exciting as they are, internships can be nerve wracking and even overwhelming at times. Like all learning experiences, there will be both ups and downs, and it is important to remember not to let the downs discourage you.

Sometimes things in life do not work out the way you expect them to. You may find, that you end up hating an internship that you thought you would love. Do not give up, at this point in your young career the experience is invaluable to you. Push through it, come prepared, go above and beyond in the work that you do and build lasting relationships. Love an internship or hate an internship, you are still creating experiences and learning more about yourself and what you want to gain from your professional career.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

Stephanie Bishop: Experiencing Civil Engineering First Hand

Hoyle, Tanner recently partnered with Milford (NH) High School & Applied Technology Center to host Stephanie Bishop, a high school senior, for the fall semester so she could further her passion for engineering.poster

What are your career goals after high school: Civil and Environmental Engineer

What inspired/influenced you to choose this career path: I love hands-on work. The whole design process from an idea to a sketch to an object seemed appealing to me. After taking the first engineering course at my high school, one project particularly stood out: paper bridges. I always wondered how bridges were able to hold so much weight. That curiosity combined with the knowledge gained from that unit in class, influenced my decision that civil engineering was the right path for me.

Provide a short description of the steps you are taking while in high school to pursue your career path: To start, I took all of the engineering courses available at my high school to make sure I liked it


Stephanie shares her internship experiences with her high school classmates.

and wanted to continue with the subject. I got involved with STE(A)M nights as a student ambassador and got to share my knowledge and potentially spark an interest in younger kids. I wanted to know what other types of engineering were like so I joined the Women in Technology program with BAE Systems. This helped me gain an understanding of other options available should I decide that civil isn’t a right fit for me. I am currently in an internship with Hoyle, Tanner which is an amazing opportunity at the high school level to experience civil engineering first hand.


Tell me about your internship, what it involves, and who it’s with: My internship is with a private civil engineering firm called Hoyle, Tanner & Associates located in Manchester. I’m currently in the structures group which focuses on bridges but there’s also highway, environmental, and aviation groups within the firm. Being a structural engineer involves looking over blueprints, CAD drawings, quantities, load calculations, etc. To get out of the office you can also visit a job site and make sure everything is in check, which I’ve had the amazing opportunity to do within this internship.

We wish Stephanie the best in her college career and look forward to potentially having her return to Hoyle, Tanner, as a full-time employee.