The Internship Series – Working In A Positive And Nurturing Environment

Interning at Parsons has been the greatest professional experience in my academic career. I would love to work at Parsons when I graduate.

I am a rising senior studying Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Green Engineering at Virginia Tech. Even as a rising senior, I found I still did not know what career I wanted to pursue. During my internship, the market-leading team at Parsons introduced me to their growing, in-demand market sectors, gave me the professional latitude to solve problems creatively, and connected me with directors in their company.

Leadership at Parsons maintains a high standard for themselves, their team members, and the products and services they deliver.  To help ensure continued success in delivering a high standard of service, Parsons invests in its future competitiveness by staying informed on client and market trends.

My main project supports the business development team in researching client and market trends. By collecting and analyzing data from past requests for proposals (RFPs), the team is introducing streamlined business processes to support the proposal teams’ competitiveness.

Through my in-depth review of Parsons’ proposals, I had the fortunate experience of discovering the company’s diverse offerings and capabilities. The company uses its expertise to solve problems ranging from emerging solutions for COVID-19 testing services, all the way through developing, monitoring, and implementing programs for nuclear waste disposal.

As someone interested in both the business and technical aspects of engineering, this position gave me the foundational experience to pursue a career with plenty of potential for management opportunities. I want to be a leader and mentor for others. This internship has given me the opportunity to understand diverse market needs and take a sneak-peek at emerging technological trends.

From day one, my manager, who I like to view more as a mentor, asked me how I view my career in five years’ time. Since then, he has provided me opportunities to connect with Parsons employees and work on projects in-line with my interests. The Parsons team has proven time and time again that they value my input, opinions, goals, and interests.  The net result of my time with the team has been extremely positive, and I can envision myself growing with Parsons for years to come.

The internship program is organized, even in light of current global health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every week the interns are invited to conversations with market leaders, encouraged to pursue a career and personal development initiatives, and introduced to various Parsons committees. I have found value in every meeting thus far; topics range from training on soft skills such as time management to technical discussions in cyber and intelligence projects.

My favorite meeting thus far was Chris Alexander’s training on the Engineered Systems market. Since one of my main interests is innovation in sustainable engineering, I enjoyed learning about Parsons’ security and sustainability efforts. I found the discussion around Parsons’ work on Station McMurdo especially eye-opening.  The Antarctic-based project features innovative work in infrastructure design and implementation and surprisingly features a unique work environment featuring penguins and Parsons employees sharing their time and space together.

This summer, interns had the opportunity to connect in a one-on-one meeting with either Chuck Harrington or Carey Smith. My discussion was with Carey Smith and I asked her questions about my interests in sustainable engineering and Parsons’ goals and mission to grow this area, her experience as a woman in a leadership position, and advice on how to enhance my professional development. One noteworthy discussion was about the need to diversify your skills. Smith mentioned that it is very important to reach your full potential within the workplace by taking on different roles, even if it may be outside of your comfort zone. She also mentioned that it is important to continue your professional development outside of the office. In her free time, Smith regularly reads on business articles and participates in various organizations. I particularly enjoyed our conversation because she made the environment very welcoming, and I felt like I was speaking with a mentor.  

Without a doubt, the most memorable feature of my internship has been getting to know the team at Parsons. They foster a welcoming and enthusiastic environment which has allowed me to recognize how working in a positive and nurturing environment can lead to opportunities and career development.  In my opinion, Parsons is committed to helping its team members reach their full potential.

About the author

Hebah E. is an intern working for Parsons’ Business Development sector. She is a rising senior studying Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Green Engineering at Virginia Tech. Beyond her work with Parsons, Hebah co-manages a project in sustainable housing, and mentors young girls in STEM fields. As a committed advocate for professional inclusivity, Hebah is also a Board Member at POWER, Virginia Tech’s newly founded organization promoting leadership opportunities for minority students at the University.

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