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Next generation of Land Surveyors jumpstart their career with experience

It’s one thing to love the job you have- it’s another to love the job you’re GOING to have someday. Corey Ingham can say that’s true- as a third year student at Alfred State College of Technology (SUNY), Corey has been working hard at his studies during the school year, and hard at work with the survey crews of Ravi Engineering & Land Surveying, P.C., during summer and winter breaks. This is now his third straight summer on the job.

Intern Corey Ingham experiences working on a variety of Survey job sites, including commercial construction.

While not every college program requires internships for credit, he says he “100% recommends internships” to any student. “Oh, I definitely had nerves in the beginning. But the more experience I have had, it all becomes more like second nature, so it’s more of a job and less nerves just trying to remember everything,” said Corey.

Yes, it’s unusual to see an intern come back as many times as Corey has, but Corey himself is an unusual intern. “We get students that are interested in seeing what the job is really like day-to-day, but Corey from the start wanted to experience it all,” says Sean Baldwin, Survey Project Manager for RE&LS. “He has thrown himself into every opportunity to learn more, do more, and try more of the actual field work we do. To see a student so excited about the technical details of land surveying reminds all of us why we got into this field.”

Corey sees what he’s doing on the job as a direct extension of what he’s learning in the classroom, and also recognizes what he’s learning in the field makes him a better student. “What you learn in school is a lot of theoretical background and the basic principals of surveying. Being an intern shows you the practical applications and the reasoning behind certain practices. You understand why you’re learning what you’re learning and the accuracy you need to have to do the job.”

In his many turns with RE&LS, Corey has been able to work with all of the different crews at one time or another, including Boundary Surveys, Topographic Surveys, Construction Layout. He says he has learned something new from all of them. “Every crew chief has their own approach to the jobs, which really helps me understand the different problems you can see and how to solve them,” said Corey.

A memorable day on the job for Corey Ingham at Niagara Falls State Park

Like many surveyors in the field, Corey considers himself “outdoorsy” and enjoys the variety every day on the job can bring. On the day we spoke, his crew had started the day in the Port of Oswego working on a commercial site, then went to a residential job in Ontario County, and finished on a construction site in Monroe County. Asked about the ‘coolest’ job he’s experienced so far, Corey didn’t hesitate to say the Niagara Falls State Park assignment to survey the Crow’s Nest- which if you don’t know, includes a top landing area within the State Park, a rough cliff face descent, and then a low area where brave visitors can get a thrilling in-person experience with this natural wonder. Corey’s crew that week used terrestrial laser scanning and conventional topography survey techniques to update a basemap for future design planning. Each workday came with a once-in-a-lifetime view!

“The caliber of students we have seen from Alfred has always been top-notch. We want them to have these big, memorable experiences as interns, especially when they are as dedicated as Corey is,” says Mike Bogardus, Vice President & Manager of Land Surveying at RE&LS. “Technology can and has changed a lot as to how we might get the job done, but the connection you get with a good mentor is special. It’s the same as it’s been for generations of surveyors- it’s passing the knowledge and the passion for a career that’s critically important to how we engineer our world. We really enjoy providing that kind of experience to students like Corey who have that interest and drive.”

Corey expects to graduate next year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Land Survey and Geomatics Engineering, minoring in Business. He’s the recipient of several scholarships provided through NYSALPS, including the Eastern NY Society Memorial Scholarship, the Arthur D. Shaw Memorial Scholarship and the Joseph E. Glickman Scholarship. “The NYSAPLS organization has been very supportive, and I’ve been really proud to see what I’ve accomplished at Alfred,” said Corey.