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Fehr Graham's internship program grows

As Fehr Graham has grown in recent years so has its internship program. With 10 offices in 3 states, the firm can provide a variety of internship opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The students get hands-on experience in different disciplines to help decide the career path that best suits them.  

Fehr Graham’s internship program has been so successful that many of the interns come back to work full-time for the company after earning a degree.

Fehr Graham places a high value on our internship program,” said Fehr Graham’s Noah Carmichael, owner and professional engineer. “As STEM professionals, we have a strong desire to share our passion with the next generation. Our interns learn all that we do to make their communities safer, healthier, more efficient and more enjoyable in which to live and work. Our interns work on actual projects and, upon the completion of construction, can see their ideas and designs in the real world. This is an experience a student cannot get in the classroom.”

This summer, 9 interns worked in five of the offices. Here’s what they had to say about their experiences:

Big Bend, Wisconsin, native Dustin Eisenhut has spent his summer in Plymouth working as an intern in the safety division. Dustin will be a senior this fall at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he studies occupational safety.

The Mukwonago High School graduate most enjoyed his visit to Baker Cheese, where he attended a plant safety committee meeting and completed a facility walkthrough to identify hazards with the safety team.

“I was able to gain valuable knowledge from the employees about the problems they were seeing and why they continue to be an issue,” Dustin said. “It showed me a lot about where some of the difficulties come up when dealing with safety issues, and that it’s not always a nice or easy fix.”

Another highlight of the visit? Touring the factory where they make 2 million sticks of string cheese each day, Dustin said.


Freeport High School graduate Evan Arachikavitz is an environmental health and safety intern in the Freeport, Illinois, office this summer. He is studying occupational safety at Illinois State University in Bloomington, where he will be a senior this fall.

His favorite project, which took about two weeks, was working at Honeywell’s campus.

“I traveled to five different plants and took over 500 readings,” Evan said. “The project involved thorough inspection of the plants and their infrastructure, meticulous data analysis, planning with maintenance department and many other interesting factors.”


Ellie Macklin is from Scottsdale, Arizona, but now calls Rochelle, Illinois, home. She graduated in 2015 from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is currently studying engineering physics at Elon (North Carolina) University.

Ellie has enjoyed working on a large water modeling project this summer in the company’s Rockford office.

“I didn’t have any previous knowledge of the topic so I enjoyed learning how a city’s water system is set up and running analyses on it. The model is created with an attachment in ArcMap so I got to learn a new software and create a network to reflect the city’s water system.”

Ellie said she appreciates getting real-world experience.

“This internship has exposed me to a part of engineering that can’t be taught in the classroom,” she said.


Hunter Jancek, an engineering technician intern from Byron, Illinois, is working in Fehr Graham’s Rochelle office this summer. The Byron High School graduate will return to school this fall as a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville where he is pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. Hunter’s favorite project this summer is Mercyhealth’s new hospital.

“We were there laying out parking lot curb and light poles, which wasn’t super exciting. But the amount of people and things happening around us was amazing,” Hunter said. “Not only was this a large project for Fehr Graham, but a very large project for the city and people of the Rockford area.”


Ellie Willging just finished her internship as an administrative intern in the company’s Freeport office. Ellie, a Freeport High School graduate, will start her senior year this fall at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, where she studies history and political science. Ellie said she’s learned a lot this summer.

“I enjoy writing case studies because they offer a great opportunity to learn how Fehr Graham solves problems by working with local communities,” she said.


Mason Ward calls Elgin, Iowa, home. The North Fayette Valley High School graduate will be a freshman at the University of Iowa this fall. He wanted to get a jump start on learning civil engineering at our West Union, Iowa, office this summer.

“The best project I have worked on during my internship was the proposal for redoing the Cedar Falls baseball field because it combined two interests of mine, engineering and baseball,” Mason said.


Engineering intern Charity Voskuil has spent her summer at the Rockford office. The Pecatonica High School graduate is pursuing a degree in civil engineering at Iowa State University, where she will be a sophomore this fall.

Charity said her favorite part of the internship is “calculating quantities for various projects because it was fun to get into the actual plans and see what is being done.”


Engineering intern Alex Stykel studies building construction management at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he’ll be a senior this fall. While the Freeport native and Aquin Catholic High School graduate is based in our Monroe, Wisconsin, office. He's spent most of his time working on the Eighth Street project in Monroe.

“It’s the best job that I have been on so far because I have learned a great deal in the time that I have been on the project,” Alex said about the Monroe project. “I like tasks that I do on a day-to-day basis, and there is always something different that I get to look forward to every day.”


Drake Szyp has spent his summer as an engineering intern at the Rockford office. The Rockford native and Auburn High School graduate attends Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, where he majors in civil engineering.

Drake said he’s enjoyed having a hand in the development process of projects. His favorite project is the new Mercyhealth Hospital just off Interstate 90 in Rockford.

“Before we had anything to do with the project, it was nothing but a piece of flat land up for purchase,” Drake said. “After said land was bought and a plan for it was established, the engineers here went to work.”

Drake also likes learning more about his colleagues’ projects.

“Not only do I get to see what they are working on but in most cases, can lay it out myself and get to see it built,” Drake said.

Published: Aug. 3, 2017

Update: Several of our interns were interviewed by the local media.
Rockford native Drake Szyp was interviewed by 13 WREX.

Cameran Coy of 23 WIFR spent some time with interns Charity Voskuil of Pecatonica and Ellie Macklin of Rochelle. Watch both videos and read the story. Voskuil was also interviewed by the Rochelle News-Leader.

Evan Arachikavitz wrapped up his internship in Fehr Graham's Freeport office with an interview with The Journal-Standard.

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