Jordan Johnson ‘16 – In my brief stint here at Mei Wu Acoustics I have learned many new and unexpected things. My time as an intern through the Small Business Internship Fund has already helped me to begin developing a better idea of what I want to do as a future profession. First off, I have always thought I wanted a job where I can get out of the office and go do site visits and observe the situation, instead of being solely an office worker. My new position has solidified my perspective on wanting to get out of the office on occasion. Part of my job as the intern has been to go help setup equipment on site visits. I have thoroughly enjoyed the visits, as I have had the opportunity to see a large portion of the beautiful Bay Area and other parts of California.
This leads me to discuss what it is like working in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley. Different than I had originally thought, work is quite relaxed and on your own time. Most places don’t have distinct rules on when you have to arrive or how long you work; you are still required to get your work done, but if you want to do it at home that is fine. I really enjoy this part of the work culture in California. It makes life a little less stressful when you have other things bogging down your mind (high rent payments, cost of food, gas, etc.).
As for what I do on a daily basis, 60% of my time is spent in the office working on a computer or helping the other engineers on their projects. I have really appreciated being able to help some others in the company, because it usually means they have to take some of their personal time to show me what they are working on and how they did it. Some of the things I have been asked to do include: copying data and simplifying calculations in Excel, creating spreadsheets to make projects easier, taking measurements, recording data, and best of all, marching through woods covered in poison oak in order to take a sound measurement (since I am supposedly immune to poison oak). Not to mention walking right over the top of a rattle snake.
On the more technical side I have learned a lot about acoustics and engineering; but surprisingly, I have learned more about doing business with other people and how a small business manages to get work. Sure, in class you can learn to calculate the sound pressure level of a noise equally dispersed throughout a room, traveling through gypsum wall board with wood studs, and then again equally dispersed into another room (taking into account the reverberation time of the room, transmission loss from the wall, and directivity). Yet, school can’t teach you how to explain how this works to a business owner who doesn’t want to violate noise codes, and may know nothing about acoustics or engineering. I have learned that being able to explain how things work to a customer is one of the greatest struggles for engineers and acoustical consultants. Hopefully having the opportunity to see and hear this occur first hand, will help me in the future when I become an engineer and need to explain what is going through my head.