09:09 PM

Intern builds resume … and a building


Allison Kassian helped construct a $50M building on her university’s campus while she was still a student.

By Dan Vaccaro

Internships are great resume builders. But Allison Kassian’s internship might be better described as a building builder.

As a project engineer intern for GH Phipps, she’s spent more than a year working on the construction of the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building at Metropolitan State University of Denver. And here’s the best part – Kassian was a civil engineering technology student at the University during most of that time.

“I am super proud and excited for this to be my first project,” she says. “I was here from the beginning and seen it come up from scratch. It’s a good feeling to be able to contribute to the future of my own university.”

Kassian graduated in May and will continue with GH Phipps as a full-time field engineer this summer, which means that on June 22 she’ll get to see the ribbon cut on the building she had a hand in creating.

Among her responsibilities as an intern, Kassian managed many of the details that kept the $50 million project on track. She performed weekly safety checks of the site, gave tours and tracked the process through photos. As the opening approaches, she’s been putting together the facility punch list, noting everything that needs to be corrected or finished before the doors officially open.

Her role has given her a firsthand look at the building’s many innovative spaces. She says that more than half of the space will be for laboratories focused on growing specific skills and technical expertise. Many of the labs on the first floor will have sections of glass wall, providing a literal look into the world of manufacturing.

Her favorite spot?

“I’m most excited about the structural testing room, where students will be able to see if the structure of a certain project is sound. That kind of hands-on training is essential.”

Kassian is also impressed by the top floor, which will house several aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies. From that floor, students will be able to participate in the design, construction and operation of satellites, among other things. Yes, you read that right: Students will be helping build and fly satellites from the Auraria Campus starting this year.

Which begs the question: Given all of the new and exciting opportunities, is she jealous?

“A little,” she admits. But that jealousy is tempered by the fact that she’ll be living her dream – making buildings, rather than simply studying in them.

She also takes comfort in knowing that she’s made her mark on campus – in a very literal way. Before the final beam was placed at the top of the structure, Kassian got to sign her name on it, as is customary in the topping off ceremony.

“My name is written into the building,” she says. “I guess a little part of me will always be on campus.”

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