Business Center

An Internship to Learn and Grow

By Tiffani Madle, Process Improvement Intern
Posted: August 31, 2018

Tiffani Madle

Tiffani Madle
Process Improvement Intern

Working as an intern in the Office of Process Improvement (OPI) with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been both challenging and rewarding. Previously, I had worked in communication roles for two other state departments: the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the Department of Revenue (DOR). When I came across the posting for the internship with the OPI, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about CDOT and how the OPI contributes to the organization. Additionally, I felt that my communications background would be a valuable asset to the OPI.

During my internship, I’ve learned that CDOT aims to be the number one DOT in the nation and provide the best multi-modal transportation system in Colorado. They are also one of the most technologically advanced departments in the State. I was blown away when I learned about CDOT’s partnership with Arrivo, a next-generation transportation company, and their plans to build a hyperloop-inspired transportation system in Colorado. In addition, CDOT utilizes drone technology to inspect bridges and assess high-risk rockslide sites, and in 2017, they unveiled a self-driving work zone vehicle in an effort to improve safety for roadway maintenance crews.

On top of CDOT’s advanced technology efforts, they encourage everyday innovation through their Lean Everyday Ideas (LEI) program, which recently received a Top 25 Innovation Award from Harvard University. One of my projects as an intern with the OPI was to interview some of CDOT’s top innovators and write articles about their innovative experiences. Through these interviews, I learned just how important innovation is at CDOT and that employees really appreciate the LEI program because it gives them a chance to continually improve the organization’s processes and make their jobs easier. I feel honored to have been a part of this program by submitting and implementing an idea of my own: the Intern Buddy System. This system improves the onboarding process by having a senior intern pair-up with a new intern to help them adapt quickly to their new environment and have a successful internship.

As I prepare to end my internship with CDOT and the Office of Process Improvement, I have not only thought about the things I’ve learned, but also about the skills I’ve gained. For instance, I've developed my project management skills through the use of Trello, a web-based tool that helps organize and manage all of your projects with checklists and due dates. By creating a personal time tracker, I was able to manage my time better and maximize my productivity. Other soft skills I’ve developed along the way include: networking with colleagues, interviewing future interns, mentoring new interns, and public speaking.

I’ve grown both personally and professionally from my internship experience and look forward to applying the skills I’ve learned here in future positions. I am thankful and feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with great mentors and co-interns during my time at CDOT.