Co-op at Van Rossum Amsterdam

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 9 September 2017

In April 2016, I got in touch with a Dutch company located in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, which is only an hour away from my Dutch hometown. The name of this company is “Van Rossum Raadgevende Ingenieurs” and they are well known for their interesting and sophisticated structural engineering projects.

Likewise, they have received a huge price for their famous project “Hoog Catarijnen” in Utrecht, The Netherlands, for which they have designed the complicated foundation.

Designing the foundation of a Dutch building or bridge is an enormous challenge since the load-bearing soil is mainly below sea-level. This problem has been tackled by the use of piles, which is typical for Dutch engineering and architecture. So, it was challenging for me to apply my American knowledge of engineering to the Dutch projects I have been working on this Summer and in 2016.

I restarted my co-op this May and I was supervised by Senior Structural Engineer Melvin Eschweiler. Consequently, I had the chance to excel myself as an engineer while working at two different projects shown below:

Zeeburgeiland, Amsterdam

The City Garden, Van Heuven Goedhartlaan, Amstelveen

During these projects, I was privileged to expand my knowledge of the steel reinforcement bars within a concrete structure. Similarly, I had to draw the diameters, lengths, and the center to center properties of the steel bars on the floor plans, cross sections, and front views. To accomplish this, I had to use the newest software of AutoCAD (2017).

Because of the two projects and their tasks mentioned above, I had the ability to get used to the real engineering world. I had to work with a multidisciplinary team of all ages and academic levels. This was not as challenging as I expected, since I am used to working in teams because of my background as a field hockey player on the Ohio University Field Hockey squad.

Furthermore, because of this student athlete fact I am used to work under pressure with lots of deadlines every single day. Hence, my colleagues were happy with me as their companion and the collaboration with all of them went very smoothly.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of my co-op experience I had some trouble with the software. I had not used AutoCAD for over a year so I had forgotten most of the keys to make quick drawings. Luckily, my colleagues were patient with me and they explained me everything I had questions about despite their busy schedules.

Fortunately, I have worked a lot with AutoCAD 2012 during my freshman year, so at least I remembered the fundamentals of the software to get started eventually. Thus, my field hockey background has surprisingly helped me a lot during this co-pp and this experience will therefore help me in the classroom too.

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