After a pause during the pandemic, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority brought back its Summer Internship Program with a group of bright college students and recent graduates who are ready to take on the airport world!
This year, we welcomed lllyse Martinez-Kaldani from Southern Illinois University Costa Mesa, Daniel Sjoholm from UC San Diego, Gina Yum from Pomona College, and Daniel Perez from the University of San Diego, as well as Roberto Espinosa - California Institute of Arts and Technology and Chloe Pena - California State University Los Angeles (not pictured above).
The interns have varied fields of study: Architecture, Urban Planning, Environmental Affairs, and Aviation Management, and they are working for the Airport Authority’s Airport Design and Construction (ADC), Environmental Affairs, Airside and Terminal Operations, and Planning Departments.
So, did they think they could find so many disciplines working at an airport?
“I studied urban planning in the context of city planning and didn’t know that airport planning was a thing,” said Daniel Sjoholm, who says he is now seeing the different planning roles at San Diego International Airport and how they interact with the city.
For Gina Yum, she’s right at home working for the Airport Authority’s Environmental Affairs Department, having explored sustainability in her extracurriculars. Yum also sits on her university’s Carbon Neutrality Committee and is also an Eco. Rep at her school.
lllyse Martinez-Kaldani says her passion for risk mitigation, safety, and airport planning has been reaffirmed during her time at the Airport Authority. Meanwhile, Daniel Perez says there’s something special about the unique position the airport is in with its own administrative power while providing many opportunities.
During Daniel’s internship, he had a chance to visit the New Terminal 1 project site while working with other coordinators for the project. After completing his internship, Daniel’s newly acquired experience helped him get hired as a full-time employee at Airport Authority as a Technical Coordinator with the ADC.
The interns recently had the chance to collaborate and build “the ideal airport” using a bucket of Legos! Lego bricks aside, they have a lot of fresh ideas and a big emphasis on sustainability at airports, like using heat-reflective reflective lamps, building liquid dumping stations, and bringing cigarette butt recycling containers at the terminals.
Sustainability, they say, goes hand in hand with providing a successful customer experience as the future moves forward.
For more information on the Airport Authority's Internship Program, please visit this link.