Internships at KCDOT can lead to careers

You never know where an internship can lead. Some of King County DOT’s top managers got their start as interns at the County. We’ve seen the demonstrable benefits of cultivating young minds that can bring fresh ideas and talent to public service, and in particular to the transit industry.

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Eight of our current DOT interns: (from left) Megan Johnson, Meredith Sampson, Austin Bell, Ashley Shibo Gao, Melina Soto, Gabrielle Jones, Lucas Simons, Hannah Debenedetto

KCDOT’s intern program began as an offshoot of the Federal Work-Study program, and ever since then, hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students have generated innovative ideas, written meaningful policy, and refined and streamlined processes which have improved the lives of our residents. Scroll down to meet ten of our current interns in Metro Transit. If history is any guide, there is no limit to what they might achieve.

Judge Marlin AppelwickState Court of Appeals Judge Marlin Appelwick, who also served 16 years in the Washington State Legislature, was one of the earliest interns at KCDOT. He worked on legislation which led to the implementation of the Vanpool program.

Christine AndersonMetro’s Christine Anderson started as a KCDOT intern in 1998. She helped launch innovative workforce development programs for historically disenfranchised populations and laid the foundation for car-sharing programs like Zipcar. “I was able to work on projects with real results,” Anderson said, “while learning how to work cooperatively within an organization to reach a common goal.” Two decades later, Anderson is still with Metro as a Continuous Improvement Specialist. The size of the organization meant she could find opportunity and encouragement to experiment in different departments; every kind of specialty exists at the County, meaning there’s a diverse pool of talent to learn from. “One thing that kept me at the County is the dedicated people I see every day, applying creativity and passion to their work, and connecting with the community.”

Harold TaniguchiEven KCDOT Director Harold Taniguchi began as an intern in 1983, in the office of then-King County Executive Randy Revelle. For him, it was a chance to see firsthand “how experienced, dedicated, high-performing staff did their jobs.” Taniguchi says this helped him develop a personal standard for his own performance, and understand “the important of developing relationships with co-workers which can pay off many years later.”

Interns don’t need to pursue leadership roles to still have an impact. They leave behind incremental changes that help move the organization forward, bringing fresh eyes to help identify overlooked gaps and hidden opportunities. For those interested in an internship with King County, new opportunities open seasonally at every department and level of the County. Check the Internship page throughout the year and download the Contacts list for agencies to ask about new internship opportunities. Here are profiles of 10 of our 14 current interns at Metro:

  • Austin Bell is a dual MA Urban Planning & Public Administration student at UW and is working as a Parking Demand Management intern.
  • Cavonte Davis is a Construction Management intern from North Carolina A&T State University where he is pursuing a BS in Construction Management.
  • Hannah Debenedetto is a Communications intern studying Public Affairs at Seattle University.
  • Ashley Gao is a junior at the UW studying civil & environmental engineering, and a Project Management intern on the Design & Construction team.
  • Gabrielle Jones is a Transit Engineering intern on the Design and Construction team studying Civil Engineering & Mathematics at Brigham Young University.
  • Megan Johnson is working as a Service Planning intern while also earning her MA in Public Policy at Seattle University.
  • Ian Kowalski is pursuing dual MAs in Urban Planning & Public Administration at the UW, and is a Strategy & Performance intern.
  • Meredith Sampson is a Service Planning intern from Vermont who is pursuing her MA in Urban Planning at the UW.
  • Lucas Simons is a Market Development intern pursuing MAs in Urban Planning & Public Policy at the UW.
  • Melina Soto is studying Civil & Environmental Engineering at the UW while interning as a Civil Engineer with Design & Construction.

Thanks to all our past, present, and future interns at KCDOT!