By CAMERON BENNETT, LUCIA GAME, CARMEN HOM, and VIDHI SACHDEVA

One of the highlights of the summer is Kittelson’s Intern Jamboree, which in 2018 was held July 9–13 in Portland, Oregon. The jamboree is a time when interns can connect with each other, expand their network of transportation professionals, and engage with new perspectives on transportation. It was an eventful week in the Pacific Northwest; our days were jam-packed with outdoor activities, expeditions to find the best food and ice cream, and thought-provoking discussions about the future of transportation.

Kittelson’s 2018 intern class enjoying happy hour with the Portland office. From left to right: Fabrice Shyaka, Cameron Bennett, Amy Griffiths, Jessica Martin, Vidhi Sachdeva, Lucia Game, Dara Osher, Katrin Chandra, Carmen Hom, Gadi Dreyfuss, Sogand Karbalaieali, Emily Andrus, and Cody Casebier. Not pictured: Daniel Iwicki, Nick Padula, and Henry Schoenhoff.

During the jamboree’s leadership panel, Kittelson CEO Mark Vandehey was asked if he had any advice to give to incoming professional staff. He passed along the same piece of advice that founder Wayne Kittelson had given him: “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” This resonated with many of the interns as advice we can carry back to our offices, to college, and beyond. Whether we’ll be speaking at a public meeting, asking more questions, or welcoming new places and travels, we’ll embrace this concept as a road to growth.

A defining memory was the Portland bike tour. While a four-hour bike ride in the middle of summer may not seem like an ideal day to most people, for us as interns nothing topped exploring Portland’s outstanding bike trails and transit modes. Our class was joined by fellow interns from public transportation agencies, including the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Together, we explored all types of infrastructure, from bike traffic lights and bike boxes to the Eastbank Esplanade floating bridges along the Willamette River.

What better way to explore a new city and learn about their road designs than by bike! I also enjoyed spending time with the interns and getting to know them outside of the office. It was motivational learning about their backgrounds and career goals.

- Jessica Martin, Intern, Kittelson Baltimore

When it was time to pack our bags, it was hard to part with our new friends, but we were all happy to have shared such a wonderful week of friendship, hard work, and adventures.

Left: Daniel Iwicki, Henry Schoenhoff, Nick Padula, and Amy Griffiths enjoy the Saturday morning hike to Washington Park before the Portland office picnic. Right: Interns Emily Andrus, Dara Osher, Nick Padula, and Cody Casebier work diligently to come up with a transportation plan for the fictional town of Milton.

At its core, the jamboree is most remarkable because of the people involved. It was exciting to spend a week sharing new experiences and bonding with Kittelson interns from across the United States, from Boston to Bend. We met many people in the fascinating field of transportation through “meet and greet” events with the plangineers (planners + engineers) from Kittelson’s Portland office and through our bike tour with the public transportation agency interns.

One of the things I took away from the intern day was the importance of different perspectives and experiences. All the interns came with different perspectives and from different places, but that diversity is important to not only Kittelson, but every organization.

- Tyger Liner, Intern, Oregon Department of Transportation

By and large, every intern was blown away by the jamboree. The intern class of 2018 was made up of bright, sociable, passionate individuals, creating an instant positive group dynamic and some wonderful conversation. What surprised us even more was to find that the rest of Kittelson was much the same—full of interesting, positive, interactive people. The jamboree served to engage, educate, and inspire those of us lucky enough to be there, and, in the words of Kittelson engineer Jamestaun Kraupp, it “put a little gas in the tank.”

We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the individuals who put their time and effort into making the week and the program special for us. All of us now consider ourselves a part of the Kittelson family as well.