Intern Scholarship Winners Announced for 2021

This past summer, Benesch welcomed nearly 40 interns to our offices across the country to participate in a nine-week program. In addition to the valuable hands-on experience they gained, nine interns were awarded our annual Student Intern Scholarship.

“We had such a talented pool of interns in this year’s program and so many great applicants,” said Greg Stewart, chair of Benesch’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee. “The committee decided it was only fair to increase the number of scholarships we would be awarding.”

This year’s applicants were vying for nine $1,000 scholarships awarded based on the progression of their engineering knowledge over the course of the summer, as well as their ability to understand and implement the business aspects of engineering that impact project success. After reviewing numerous applications, Benesch’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee selected the following high-performing interns:

The Great Lakes Regional Award Winners

Avin Arefzadeh – UC Berkeley

Amber DeCarlo – University of Illinois

Mariah Sheeler – Michigan Technological University

The Great Plains Regional Award Winners

Karina Scheller – Benedictine College

Abigail Winter – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Benjamin Wortman – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Award Winners

Tucker Bayda – Lehigh University

Kevin McKeon – Penn State

Douglas Weist – Wilkes University

Benesch’s Summer Internship Program integrates students into the company. They work on projects, interface with leadership and experience our culture. The program concludes with a capstone presentation to their leadership team where they are invited to reflect on their experience at Benesch.

“This year’s intern class participated in weekly training sessions to develop their communication, technical writing, presentation and team collaboration skills and round out their summer,” explains Benesch’s Learning and Development Director Julie Melidis. “They also had a chance to meet with various leaders of the company to learn more about the business side of what we do—it’s been an awesome experience for everyone involved!”

Learn more about this year’s intern class and our scholarship winners below:

Meet the Scholarship Winners

Avin Arefzadeh

For Avin Arefzadeh, Benesch’s internship program presented new challenges. After being quickly onboarded to active projects in our Chicago office, she was able to see the concepts she learned in the classroom come to life.

“When working on projects, I realized that because of my university work, I already knew the calculations very well. I just needed a real-life example to really understand the theoretical concept, and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to implement this,” said Avin.

Avin is pursuing her master’s in civil engineering at UC Berkeley.

Amber DeCarlo

In addition to providing hands-on experience, our intern program encourages students to explore Benesch’s culture and connect with coworkers. Amber DeCarlo was able to gain valuable experience working on various project phases all while taking part in Benesch’s culture.

“The culture of the Chicago office and company are so welcoming, and the variety of extracurricular opportunities is endless. I took part in the softball and volleyball teams as well as Toastmasters this summer. It was nice to engage with coworkers outside of a work environment,” shared Amber.

Amber is a University of Illinois graduate student majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Interns are invited to experience everything life at Benesch has to offer. Both Avin and Amber enjoyed diving into our culture by joining our recreational volleyball team.

Mariah Sheeler

In Wisconsin, Mariah Sheeler, civil engineering major at Michigan Technological University, joined a team of experienced engineers to learn how her classwork transferred to project work. By working on both the design and construction side of projects, Mariah was able to gain new skills and a deeper understanding for the complete process.

“By working in the design office at Benesch, I was able to acquire the knowledge and skill needed to create road design plans. When I was able to go out and do field work in July, I was very grateful for the time spent in the design office,” said Mariah. “There are many moving parts that go into a construction operation and having a firm grasp on the plans is extremely beneficial.”

Mariah is a civil engineering major going into her fourth year at Michigan Tech where she is a consultant at the Math Lab.

Karina Scheller

In our Kansas City, KS office, Karina Scheller worked in four different field sites and on 23 projects. The Benesch intern program helped apply her technical skills while developing her time management and efficiency skills.

“I learned two new softwares my first day and completed four projects in my first week! My internship has been a manageable, fast-paced experience where I have been able to continue to develop hard and soft skills, an upgraded mindset and time management to juggle multiple projects,” said Karina.

Karina is expected to graduate this December with a civil engineering degree from Benedictine College.

Abby Winter

As a first-year intern joining our Lincoln office, Abby Winter wasn’t expecting to work on nearly every aspect of roadway engineering. But by asking questions and communicating effectively, she was able to take on new challenges and learn more than she thought possible.

“From the roadways themselves to erosion control and everything in between, I got to see many perspectives that other companies don’t offer to first year interns,” reflected Abby. “I felt like I received a lot more responsibilities and opportunities, and all of them contributed to a great internship experience.”

Abby will take the knowledge she has gained with her as she returns to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln where she serves as an undergraduate teaching assistant.

Ben Wortman

While Ben Wortman started the program with limited experience in aviation engineering, his work on a taxiway rehabilitation project out of our Lincoln office helped him gain valuable experience and a better understanding of both the design and construction process.

“I have gained so much knowledge in the aviation field this summer, and I can’t wait to continue building that knowledge,” said Ben.

Ben now returns to University of Nebraska – Lincoln to continue his pursuit of a degree in civil engineering.

Tucker Bayda

The Benesch internship programs allows students to have meaningful impacts on projects for our clients. For Tucker Bayda this meant having the opportunity to take on challenges unlike what he had been exposed to in school.

“Working at Benesch has been a fantastic experience because I have been able to complete calculations and markups that directly affect the final plans,” explained Tucker. “Benesch has given me the opportunity to support myself and direct my own projects with guidance and support.”

Tucker returns to Lehigh University this semester to pursue his degree in civil engineering.

Kevin McKeon

In Pottsville, PA, Kevin McKeon not only advanced his technical skills, but he also benefitted from regular soft-skills trainings offered as a part of the program.

“I worked on a variety of different projects within the structural/civil groups and gained a better understanding of what they do on a day-to-day basis,” shared Kevin. “The experience was even more than what I expected because I was also able to meet leadership, attend technical writing trainings, and a present my capstone project at the end of summer.”

Kevin returns to Penn State this fall to complete his degree in civil engineering.

Douglas Weist

Returning intern Douglas Weist found his second summer with the Pottsville office even more rewarding than the first. He was able to build on his experience and see how his work makes a difference in his own community.

“I was able to see a project I helped design last year become something bigger than plan sheets, giving me a great feeling that I really am unable to describe,” shared Douglas. “I helped design a new park last summer for a struggling community in my area, and this year I saw that plan come to life and help improve the community.”

Douglas is headed into his final year at Wilkes University where he is studying environmental engineering.

As a returning intern, Douglas was able to see last summer’s design work on a local park come to life and make a difference in his community.

For more information on career and internship opportunities at Benesch, visit