By Claire Elamrousi, Media Relations Staff
When you think Port Authority, you may think first of the Midtown bus terminal, or the Port Authority Police Department.
For a group of about 120 Port Authority summer interns, their view of the agency is a whole lot broader. For future engineers, planners or lawyers, those interested in government and community relations and media, marketing or finance – whatever it is, there is an opportunity to grow and learn at the Port Authority. The bi-state agency employs about 7,000 people across its numerous facilities. The operation is large and dynamic enough that it provides opportunities for students pursuing almost any major under the sun.
“The most interesting thing I’ve learned at this internship is the large number of moving parts that all come together to make up the PA,” said Chris Zelante, who is working in the Management and Budget Department. “I was not aware how many different aspects made up the Port Authority.”
The 10-week paid summer internships begin at the start of June and end in mid-August. Many interns work at the 4 World Trade Center headquarters, while others are assigned to PA administrative offices at 2 Montgomery Street in Jersey City, the agency’s major airports, PATH headquarters in Jersey City, or other locations.
“The Port Authority’s Summer Internship program provides not only a real-world summer education for college students, it brings added energy and enthusiasm to our facilities in New Jersey and New York, and to the Port Authority employees who help move the region,” said Lindsay Steinbach, who manages the agency’s Campus Recruitment programs. ”It is a wonderful experience for everyone involved, and it is so moving to see how involved and engaged the interns are during their time here.”
For PA interns, the opportunities include networking sessions, resume-building workshops, and engaging, behind-the-scenes tours of the Port Authority’s various facilities, including a trip to the top of the George Washington Bridge, a tour of LaGuardia Airport, and a look inside One World Trade Center.
Marc Antonios, an intern with the Project and Asset Management Division at the World Trade Center, said that “senior members of the department have been very helpful throughout this process — first, in patiently getting me up to speed with the terminology and scope of the different projects, and then in letting me get involved and taking my opinions and work to heart.”
The work day looks different for all Port Authority interns, depending on the department. For Orena Wong, an Aviation Department intern at John F. Kennedy Airport, her experience working with terrapins is assisting with her Master’s thesis for Integrative Biology at Hofstra University.
“We are starting a project that involves putting GPS tracking devices on select terrapins to track their movement patterns, which will be the main focus of my master’s thesis,” she said. “Every morning I check to see what time high tide is, so that I know whether I should prepare for a busy terrapin day or not. If it’s a busy day, sometimes it can take hours to process more than 100 turtles.”
Elias Guseman interns with the Major Capital Projects Planning Department, part of a team involved in developing plans to replace the aging Port Authority Bus Terminal. “It always keeps us on our toes,” he said. “Almost every day we are tasked in aiding some portion of the Bus Terminal Replacement Project, which could involve anything from site measurements to developing a programming plan.
One of the most attractive things about the Port Authority internship program is that it can evolve from a 10-week program into a career. Many interns who start in their sophomore year of college return again for their junior year and then seek permanent employment with the agency upon completion of their college education.
Micaela Weinert, a Service Delivery intern in the Human Resources department, is considering a career at the Port Authority. “In the weeks I’ve been a part of the PA, I have learned so much about our company and everything we provide, and it would be a privilege to be part of the thousands of employees that “move the region,” she said.
Internship applications for next year are available this winter. Be sure to check the Port Authority career website for available positions: http://www.jointheportauthority.com/search/college-programs/jobs/?jobcat=1&per_page=10