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June 5, 2017

Thirty-Five Students Begin DDC College and Graduate Summer Internships

Ian Michaels

Long Island City, NY Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) today welcomed 35 students to the DDC’s 2017 College and Graduate Summer Internship program at an orientation breakfast at the agency’s Long Island City headquarters.

The 10-week paid internship program targets students from around the world majoring in engineering, architecture, construction management, urban planning, and sustainability design, and will provide hands-on technical experience through specific field assignments and a mentoring relationship with senior level DDC technical staff.

“DDC’s summer internship programs offer students the chance to gain valuable experience working side-by-side with some of the best architects, engineers, construction professionals in the world,” said Commissioner Peña-Mora. “With field assignments, site visits to ongoing DDC projects, and training seminars, students will learn first-hand how the City gets built, and will have experiences that will help them throughout their careers. We take great pride in passing down our knowledge to future generations.”

DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora (center front) with DDC’s 2017 College and Graduate Summer Interns
DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora (center front) with DDC’s 2017 College and Graduate Summer Interns (NYCDDC)

“This highly selective internship can give students a leg up in technically oriented fields that can lead to steady and well paying jobs,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner of Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis. “With opportunities to work on public buildings and infrastructure projects, students can gain a broad background of knowledge while helping New York City communities grow and thrive.”

Students in the program can choose a DDC division such as Infrastructure, Public Buildings, Program Management, or Law, where they will be assigned a professional mentor. Students will take field trips to locations such as Broad Channel, Queens, where DDC’s Infrastructure Division is working to make the neighborhood more resilient and able to manage future storms. Students will meet with various members of DDC’s senior staff, and will also participate in Community Day, where they will work in the field on various beautification and clean-up projects.

This year’s group of participating interns were selected from 838 applications and include 20 females and 15 males. Students in the program represent New York City schools including CUNY-College of Staten Island, NYC College of Technology, CUNY-City College, Manhattan College, SUNY-Syracuse, Cornell, NYU-Tandon, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Columbia University, SUNY-Delhi, Pratt Institute, New York Institute of Technology, and SUNY-Stony Brook.

Interns can also come from outside the City, and this year’s program includes students from Wentworth Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, Case Western Reserve University, NYU-Abu Dhabi, George Washington University, Carnegie Mellon, North Carolina State University, and Duke University.

Jacari Matthews, 20, of Brownsville, Brooklyn will soon enter his senior year at George Washington University, where he majors in mechanical engineering with a concentration in robotics.  He is returning for his second college internship at DDC.

Jacari Matthews, DDC interns
Jacari Matthews

“Engineering caught my attention junior year of high school after I took physics and fell in love with it,” said Matthews. “I started looking into what you could do with physics and math, and I came across a link to City agency internships and decided to apply. I’ve definitely enjoyed it.  I really wanted some out of the class experience and it was great to see engineering theories applied in the real world.  

“I worked on a number of Queens library projects, doing site inspections, making sure the contractor complied with work safety laws. I asked to work with a different group this year so I’m assigned to quality assurance, testing different materials to ensure they’re up to standards for building projects. I just took a year-long materials science course so this goes along with that well. In the future I want to study computer engineering and also further my career in robotics. The DDC internships really help build my resume for future opportunities,” Matthews said.

Chantal Flores, 19, of East Elmhurst, Queens was a DDC high school intern before becoming a college intern this year. She is a recent graduate of the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts in Astoria, and will soon enter her sophomore year at Manhattan College to major in civil engineering.

“I requested an assignment in DDC’s Infrastructure division because I wanted hands-on experience with engineering,” said Flores. “I really like what they were doing. I got to review plans for streets and sidewalks and sewers, and it was very interesting seeing how everything was planned in the City. My mentor told me that every time I go out I am seeing the work of DDC wherever I go, and I understand now that it’s true.

Chantel Flores, DDC interns
Chantal Flores

“In my earlier DDC internship I was able to work on items such as the cost of construction materials and making sure that everything was in budget. I also saw that divisions at DDC check each other’s work to make sure it’s a perfect design before we start construction in the street. The internship also helped me get accepted to Manhattan College. They were impressed that I already had this experience,” Flores said.

DDC student internship programs are conducted in conjunction with DDC’s STEAM education initiative. Commissioner Peña-Mora started STEAM in 2014 to establish a diverse and inclusive pipeline for New York City's youth to engage in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries. STEAM programs for students grade 6 - 12 include the Young Engineers Program and the ACE Mentor Program. Overall, DDC STEAM has served 1,500 students since its inception.


Videos on previous DDC STEAM events and programs are available online at:

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit