Abigail Kubin accepted an engineering internship over the summer with the civil engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc. in Dallas, Texas, and came back to the UT Martin campus with more than the work experience.
Kubin was named to the WayUp Top 100 Interns List for 2023, a national ranking taken from the top 100 programs hiring interns.
“Out of thousands of applicants, 30% of the vote was public vote and 70% was based on an essay questionnaire that asked mostly about my internship experience,” she said. “I got an email on vacation one day saying I was chosen to the list.
“This is everything. It’s very prestigious. I was so humbled to be picked because there are thousands and thousands of interns of really qualified applicants. I was so excited to represent Freese and Nichols and UT Martin.”
Kubin, a junior mechanical engineering major from Highland Village, Texas, worked in the Water and Wastewater Division in transmission and utilities from early June through mid-August.
“I worked on pump stations, pipelines, elevated storage tanks and ground storage tanks,” she said. “We worked on moving the water from the treatment facilities to the people, to the cities.
“I helped with the preliminary design data for a lot of the projects. I helped get the ball rolling and do a lot of calculations there.
“One of the things I enjoyed doing was getting to see all these really big projects, really big clients. The No. 1 client is the people who live in that city, and just knowing what you’re doing for those people – bringing them water, bringing more water pressure and cleaner water – it just makes you feel good.”
Kubin’s supervisor, Amanda Powers, said the intern exemplified two of the company’s values: Learning continuously and serve always.
“Abigail has taken every challenge head-on and has gone the extra mile to make sure she understands the task at hand,” said Powers. “She has been very thoughtful in how she can improve or better any task or process we’ve given her.”
Kubin said that Freese and Nichols was hiring sophomores, juniors and seniors as interns as part of its undergraduate and master’s intern program.
“It was such a great experience,” she said. “They were so welcoming and so helpful for a first-time, full-time employee. It was definitely a lot to learn this summer, but I enjoyed it so much.”
No surprise, then, that Freese and Nichols made the WayUp and Yello’s Top 100 Internship Programs List for the first time. That is what enabled Kubin to be eligible for the Top 100 Interns List.
The experience will bolster Kubin’s career plans after she graduates from UT Martin, scheduled for May 2025.
“The experiences were great,” she said. “I got to go on so many site visits – I think I went on five or six different visits and got to go to a chapter meeting of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. They brought me along to all these different meetings. I had a great time.
“I’m studying mechanical engineering, but I’m looking more into the water side of the industry. I’m not 100% sure what to do after college.”
Kubin comes by her interest in engineering honestly, coming from a family of people who worked around engineering.
“My dad’s family all worked in the engineering industry – not necessarily as engineers – and I was exposed to that growing up,” she said. “I really liked it. I did the conventional (engineering-related) route, playing with Legos and enjoying problem solving.
“In middle school and high school, math was always my favorite. I took Calculus I and II in high school. I knew I had a talent for (math), I knew I loved it and I wanted to make a career out of it, and engineering was just perfect for that. Everything is problem solving; we’re learning how to solve all the world’s problems that are super-complicated. It’s a giant puzzle, and I love that.”
Kubin graduated from Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas, located in the northwestern part of the Dallas metropolitan area. She is the daughter of Bobby and Kelly Kubin of Highland Village, Texas.
Kubin came to UT Martin from Texas as a softball player, pitching with the Skyhawks in the 2022 season, her freshman year.
“They brought me up here, and I just fell in love with the university, especially the engineering department,” she said. “I was with the softball team for two years, but I got hurt and had to retire, but I decided to stay here because I love the university, I love the department and all the friends I’ve made.”
Photo: UT Martin junior Abigail Kubin, a mechanical engineering major, stands outside of the Latimer-Smith Engineering and Science Building on the UTM campus. Kubin was named to the WayUp Top 100 Interns list last summer for her work with the engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc. of Dallas.