Business Center

Intern Success Story: Veronica McCall

By: Josue Reynoza, Media and Marketing Intern

August 5, 2019

McCall_Veronica

Veronica McCall began her career at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) as an environmental geographic information system (GIS) intern from February 2018 to November 2018. After her internship, she continues to work for CDOT as the Region 1 Environmental Project Manager and Section 4(f)/Section 6(f) Specialist.

McCall received her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Metropolitan State University. Before coming to CDOT, and in order to graduate, she interned for a local consulting company doing environmental field work and GIS related projects. During the internship, she made connections that lead to her landing an internship at CDOT.

As a CDOT intern, she mainly focused on GIS analysis. She also got to work in other interesting projects such as labeling photographs of the Denver tramway trolley tracks, monitor vegetation and planting willow at a wetland restoration site near U.S. Route 36 in Boulder, and got to collect noise measurements and vehicle counts at U.S. Route 85 and state Highway 470. The largest challenges during her internship was not knowing who to talk to or what questions to ask to get the data she needed. In order to combat those challenges, McCall wrote down important people’s names, what they did and their contact information. This helped her form good relationships at CDOT that gave her a head start when she became a full-time employee.

One of the projects during McCall’s internship that impacted her career goals was looking at the impact of stormwater runoff from Interstate 70’s west mountain corridor to Clear Creek. During the project, McCall looked into decades of water quality data for a couple of CDOT’s pollutants of concern, and modeled the areas of I-70 that was potentially contributing to the pollution of Clear Creek. Working on the project showed McCall how her GIS skills could apply to the transportation sector.

In her current position as the Region 1 Environmental Project Manager and Section 4(f)/Section 6(f) Specialist, she makes sure projects are compliant with Section 4(f) and Section 6(f) of the Department of Transportation Act. These regulations protect parks, trails, recreational areas and properties that have been purchased or maintained using the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants. Alongside checking for compliance, McCall also manages environmental clearances on several projects in which she makes sure projects are on schedule and running smoothly.

McCall, would advise the future interns to expose themselves to the many departments in CDOT. McCall says, “I would say take all the training that you can take advantage of, go to as many meetings as you can, and shadow as many people.” By getting the exposure or making a relationship with someone, it will give you a leg up if you want to work for the department.

Her own advice prepared her when she started working full time at CDOT. She was exposed to the project delivery process, attending meetings and listening to the acronyms, and shadowing specialists. These experiences better prepared her for her current job.

For future interns to maximize their experience at CDOT, McCall says to take any opportunity that comes your way, whether it is training or going out to the field, branch out and do as much as you can. You are here and your internship is finite, so be sure to make the most of it.

How Do I Hire Interns?

Learn about how to utilize CDOT’s internship program in your division by referencing the CDOT Collegiate Internship Handbook.