Army Cadets gain experience, ‘real world’ engineering skills at USACE Chicago District

By Vanessa VillarrealSeptember 29, 2021

Army ROTC Cadets Jacob Krause and Zackery Denning have been conducting design calculations, surveying, and job shadowing thanks to an internship program they heard about through Army ROTC Cadet Command, sponsored and funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Sponsor Jeremy Harris, Structural Design engineer, said his job is to make sure they have everything they need to do their assigned tasks, and also introduce them to team members that they need to know.

“I am pretty much their go-to guy for any questions,” Harris said. “I am also serving as their primary supervisor. I give them their assignments and send them out on all their field ops.”

Since their start on July 15, 2021, they’ve been on numerous site visits, inspections, and tours including the electric dispersal barriers, the Chicago Harbor Lock, and McCook Reservoir. Their last day at the district is today.

“Working with the cadets has been exciting for all of us,” Harris said. “As they’re still in school they have a fresh perspective on typical problems we face in the engineering profession, and I often find that as I explain an issue we may have, we find the solution organically through our discussion.”

Krause, civil engineering major at the University of Nebraska, is from Louisburg, Kansas.

“The majority of internship slots focus on civil, mechanical and environmental engineering,” he said. “However, all engineers should apply. Applicants are slotted based on host requirements, and slots are requested based on the applicant's major.”

Denning, civil engineering major at Bucknell University, is from Cornwall, New York.

“I applied for the program because I’m very interested in commissioning as an engineer officer and wanted to get an understanding of what army engineering entails,” he said. “So far, I have had the opportunity to visit various project sites, sit in on design meetings, oversee construction, and get hands-on experience with things such as surveying. I’ve been able to apply many things that I’ve learned in the classroom at Bucknell. I’ve gotten a great insight on both the military and civilian aspect of engineering.”

“I had a great time and all the people I met here were very helpful,” Krause added. “I came in not knowing much about how civil engineering in the real world differs from just the basic college classes. Now, I know what it is like and how to better prepare myself for the future. This internship also will benefit me applying for jobs in my civilian and military careers.”

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