Learning through Interests: A Bellevue Big Picture School Internship

We wholeheartedly believe in giving students access to work environments and real world experience, and are happy to support Big Picture School’s unique curriculum.

Each student at Bellevue’s Big Picture School participates in the school’s Learning through Interests (LTI) program which encourages students to stretch beyond the classroom and secure an internship in their field of choice. After a memorable internship with a landscape architecture firm, junior Sam Bloom became interested in engineering. When he requested an informational interview and opportunity to intern, we were thrilled to help.

Every Thursday Sam is in our office, working with his mentors Christen Sanders, Structural Project Manager, and Amelia Drake, Civil Engineer,  for hands-on learning about both disciplines. He’s participated in project brainstorming, used a Seattle DSO (water and sewer) map to discover street right-of-way zones and allocations, and is actively working on a mock structural permit calcs package starting with system selection and framing out the building.

Sam also spent time with other Coughlin Porter Lundeen team members. Senior Structural Project Manager Rebecca Collins introduced him to our historic renovation portfolio through an exclusive tour of Pioneer Square. He also job shadowed Structural BIM Coordinator Reed Harvey, amazed at the speed and efficiency of a professional creating digital models! Structural Project Engineers Javier Diaz, Kelly Lowe, and Katie Rand have both sat down with Sam to pass on their knowledge.

January marked the halfway point of this semester’s internship and provided an opportunity to check in with Sam’s school advisor Dustin Abrahamson, parents, and fellow students. The exhibition included an energetic 20-minute presentation by Sam, reflecting on what he’s learned and how this work connects to the visions and goals he set at the start of his internship. A short Q&A time followed the presentation, then Sam’s advisor Dustin and his parents, along with Christen and Amelia, provided feedback.

While many of our team support student career growth through structured, large group programs like ACE and Washington STEM, this internship encourages 1-on-1 mentoring. Sam is excited about the professional and personal learning he’s done while part of our team, and this internship may have just convinced him to consider engineering as a career!