August 28, 2020

While students across the country head back to school this fall, DPR Construction once again offered a unique pre-pandemic internship that showcased an up-close look at the construction industry.

Earlier this year, DPR’s Austin business unit hosted a week-long internship with two students from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders who were selected from a group of nearly three dozen applicants. The Ann Richards School is a public all-girls school that serves grades 6-12, dedicating itself to preparing young women to attend and graduate from college and commit to a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle.

DPR’s Melody Rahbar organized and coordinated the interns’ schedules, carefully curating a program that included career-focused presentations and a variety of jobsite visits throughout the week. The interns visited DPR’s Block 71, Google Randall, Marriott and Block 185 jobsites, giving them a first-hand look at projects in various stages of construction. During these jobsite tours, interns shadowed either a superintendent or project engineer and got the chance to bond with team members over meal breaks.

Group photo of the Austin DPR team and Ann Richards School Interns.
Group photo of the Austin DPR team and Ann Richards School Interns. Image taken pre-COVID-19 and associated safety protocols. Photo courtesy of The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

Committed to pulling out all the stops, DPR ensured that this immersive experience was both informative and enriching for the students. More than 20 people from all facets of the company took time out of their schedules to teach the interns everything from construction safety and contracts to construction technology and marketing. Collectively, the DPR team offered the students an insight into the many career pathways that are available in the construction industry.

Rahbar said she was able to relate to the young interns since she herself interned with DPR at least three different times before coming on board.

“I really liked that they seemed to feel very comfortable with me – I was like their intern mom,” she said. “They came to me with all their questions, and I think they appreciated that I had my own role at DPR but was doing this volunteer work on the side.”

2020 marked the third straight year that DPR has hosted an internship week involving students from the Ann Richards School. The week not only offered the interns the chance to discover if a construction career appealed to them, it also gave DPR employees the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise. “We had a range of people presenting, from new hires to guys who have been with the company for over 20 years,” Rahbar said. “It showed them that DPR really does care about giving back and teaching about what we all like to do.”