Xaverian senior gets the internship of a lifetime

Building bridges.

Xaverian High School senior Randy Antoun is planning to do just that, and he’s off to a stellar start. As student who has had a passion for building since he was a child, Antoun was given the opportunity of his dreams thanks to his exceptional work in the classroom and the IPAX Internship, which is only available to honor students. While some students wanted to pursue internships in medicine, law or business, Antoun chose civil engineering, the same career as his father.

The IPAX internship allows students to pair with alumni or relatives within the field to work with in the chosen field to gain experience. Thanks to his father, Antoun found just the situation he was looking for.

“My dad talked to the president of Northeast Structural Steel Inc. and told him his son had this internship and was wondering if he could get real deal experience of how engineering works,” Antoun recounted. “They said, sure. They’ve never done anything like that, allowing a high school student to intern, but they wanted to take me in.”

The company put the future engineer to work at the Gowanus Expressway. “We met under Verrazano Bridge, where they are doing reconstruction on support beams, columns and the highway that goes onto the bridge expressway,” explained Antoun.

Though Antoun knew the internship would be an exciting one, the high school senior was surprised with how much responsibility they gave him. “I was in the field working with iron workers and had to take quantity numbers, do inventory, look over plans and send it to the boss,” he said. “It was awesome. I can’t believe I was able to do it. I never expected someone my age to be able to do that. I was fortunate to experience it.”

Despite engineering being in his family (his brother also aspires to make a career out of it) Antoun said his passion for the field began early, without his father’s influence. “When I was young, I always wanted to build stuff. I built computers, Legos. I played video games where you construct stuff,” he enthusiastically explained. “When the product is finished, you can say ‘Wow! I built that. I’m a part of that and other people can use it too.’ The people who built the Verrazano must feel amazing.”

Antoun has many skills that could potentially lead to successful careers. However, none excite him the same way as engineering does. “I’ve been told I’d make a good lawyer, but I wasn’t into it. I hate sitting at a desk and doing paper work. I love writing but I can’t sit for hours. In engineering, you get up and out in the field. It’s hands on.”

With all the experience gained from his internship, the most exciting moment was being on top of the Verrazano. “I wasn’t nervous being so high,” noted Antoun. “The view was just too incredible. I was taken aback. You can see everything. It was beautiful, especially on a summer day with all the boats out.”

As his college search winds down, Antoun said he wants to attend a college with exceptional engineering programs. He’s already been accepted to Penn State and is awaiting responses from equally impressive colleges. He also plans on interning  at Northeast Steel again this summer.

Regardless of what the future holds, Antoun is confident about the future. “I will have a successful outcome in civil engineering,” he said.

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