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Two HCC students intern at Hess Construction

Hagerstown Community College students Jeremiah Keller, of Wolfsville, Md., and William “Henry” Ricketts, of Hagerstown, recently finished 15-week internships at Hess Construction and Engineering Services, Inc.

Both Keller and Ricketts are mechanical engineering technology majors specializing in computer-aided design (CAD). During their internship, they worked directly with staff from Hess, which is on-site at HCC to build the college’s new Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Building. When completed, the new STEM facility will provide approximately 65,000 square-feet of laboratories, classrooms, and faculty offices in a five-story structure to be built between the existing Science and Classroom Buildings, which will also be renovated.

According to Keller and Ricketts, the work they completed on their internship primarily involved using the computer software Navisworks to work with the Building Information Model (BIM). The BIM model is a three-dimensional computer model of the
STEM building that includes both architectural and structural drawings and is used primarily to check the sub-contractors work in a process that is known as “clash detection.” According to Keller, clash detection involves comparing electrical, plumbing, and mechanical blue prints with one another to determine if any conflicts exist, thus allowing the building process to run smoother.

"I am incredibly proud of Jeremiah and Henry," says HCC Mechanical Engineering Instructor Stephanie Rittler. "Both students demonstrated a great amount of fortitude and effort throughout the internship. Their work with the BIM model and CAD drawings of the STEM building was a tremendous help during the beginning phases of construction."

“Internships are an inherent component of learning in construction education,” says Zubair Siddiqui, Hess BIM coordinator. “The on-site experience helps students apply the concepts learned in class on an actual construction site and provides a way to bridge the gap between academic theory and practice. Jeremiah and Henry displayed a tremendous aptitude for absorbing new initiatives, be it BIM software or field procedures, while at the same time using the CAD skills they learned in class to help the Hess field team with their daily tasks. We believe this experience will go a long way to enhance their skill sets and further advance their career growth potential.”

Keller, 25, will graduate in May 2011 and Ricketts, 54, will receive his degree as soon as the internship is officially completed. Ricketts also holds an associate degree in mechanical engineering technology from Hagerstown Junior College and a bachelor of technology degree in mechanical design engineering technology from Penn State. He says he returned to HCC specifically to learn CAD skills, which were not yet taught when he received his degree from HJC in 1979 and Penn State in 1984.

After graduation, both students plan to go directly into the workforce and hope to find employment at local construction and engineering firms.
 

Photo caption: HCC students Henry Ricketts (left) and Jeremiah Keller locate underground utilities on the STEM Building site plan.