Working in the same spot day after day, it’s easy to forget just how complex Augusta University’s various campuses really are. We tend to measure our successes based on the number of lives we make, change or save, but in so doing, we sometimes lose sight of just how many buildings, how many spaces we need to make those things happen.
This semester, though, three students from the James M. Hull College of Business—Jessie Nguyen, Danny Yuk and Whitney Holland—got the opportunity to see how the university operates behind the scenes. Working with the Department of Planning, Design and Construction (PDC), they’ve taken on roles as assistant facilities employees, integrating seamlessly into the crucial work that keeps the university growing.
Yuk, interning with the department’s Space Data Management (SDM) team, has gone on multiple “space walks”—comprehensive walkthroughs in which SDM employees record accurate data of university and medical center building spaces, scrub database lists to audit information, and look into ways to drive process efficiency. He said the work he’s done so far has given him a new perspective on just how big the university’s Health Sciences campus is.
“Getting to see the design ideas for campus spaces – and future spaces – is awesome,” he said. “When we complete space walks, it’s really interesting to see all the different Medical Center areas. I’ve been through Ophthalmology, Radiology, Sterilization, Patient Care and many others.”
Nguyen, working with construction project manager Joe Gambill, said the experience was more than she could have hoped for. So far, she’s attended multiple planning meetings. In each, she’s been introduced by the title given to her by her supervisors: assistant project coordinator.
“I’ve really learned a lot from this internship, and especially from Joe,” she said. “The first thing he taught me was to keep an eye for detail; he’s very careful and really pays attention to everything he does.”
Gambill said giving interns titles was important because it sets an expectation.
“When we take our interns to meetings, they’re meant to represent our entire group,” he said. “We don’t want to harp on them being interns—they’re a part of the team, and we treat them as such.”
But the interns aren’t the only ones coming away with new knowledge and understanding.
“They help with our workload, but we also learn from them,” Gambill said. “They’re so good with technology, you know. When I need help organizing something on the computer, they always come through.”
At any other facility, working for any other organization, the opportunity would be once-in-a-lifetime. The fact that students get to work and go to school here, Nguyen said, makes a world of difference.
“I feel so blessed to be able to intern with PDC this semester,” she said. “Everyone is nice and willing to go the extra mile, and I’ve learned so much about not only the experience of working for PDC, but also what it means to really appear professional.”