Civil engineering student’s internship leads to job in the heart of the Capitol

This is a photo of Lindsey Davis
Lindsey Davis in front of the Cannon House Office Building. Photo by Evan Cantwell

When Lindsey Davis attended the American Society of Civil Engineers career fair in fall 2018, she was hunting for an internship with Christman Company. Armed with a list of company names, she had done her research and found that Christman had ties to her hometown, Richmond, Virginia.

“Christman did quite a few projects that I was very familiar with. I thought it was so cool how this company changed these landmarks in my hometown,” says Davis, who loves history. “The one that's closest to my heart is the beautifully restored Richmond Centerstage because every year, my grandmother would take me there to see The Nutcracker.”

The career fair led to an internship with Christman Company’s project with the Architect of the Capitol, the federal agency responsible for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of the United States Capitol Complex. The nearly $1 billion project aims to renovate the Cannon House Office Building, built in 1908 in the Beaux-Arts style. The structure, last renovated in the 1960s, needed a serious upgrade and modernization.

After her first internship in 2020, Davis returned for a second summer, and in August 2020, was offered a job. In June 2021, she began full-time work and now spends 40-plus hours a week as a project engineer while completing her studies at Mason.

Davis enjoys being connected to the history and immersed in the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C.  “I pass by representatives who I see on TV and think I know who you are, or I know what you said on Twitter last night,” she says. “Most people in our country will probably never meet their representative and I’ve met a dozen.”

Davis says the representatives will ask questions about the renovation. “They're interested in what we're doing too because it's their building, they want to know that history.”

The project team has found old cigarette wraps, numerous soda bottles, and even a bowler hat that was hidden behind a wall.

She says the biggest challenge has been the steep learning curve. The renovation started almost eight years ago; there's a lot of historical information to piece together. Scheduling work can be a daunting task as they navigate special events and security issues.

“I am so thankful that the career fair led me to this terrific internship,” Davis says. “The job that it led to is everything I thought it would be and more.”