• A stator in the third powerhouse at Grand Coulee.
  • The penstocks above the water at Hoover Dam
  • The top of Shasta Dam in California
  • An automated gate structure on a canal in Washington.
  • An aerial photo of the sunsetting at Ruedi Reservoir in Colorado.


A photo of Brandon HarperPosition: STEP, Engineering Aid
School: Boise State University
Major: Civil Engineering, Minor in Chinese Language
Hometown: Lewiston, Idaho

As a Civil Engineering student at Boise State University, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to gain experience alongside my studies. My academic advisor sent me an announcement for an Engineering Aid position at Reclamation’s Clearwater Snake/Salmon Recovery Office, located in Boise, Idaho. Since I am very interested in Environmental Engineering, I felt this would be a good fit and applied. I was fortunate enough to receive this position for the summer of 2011 and have been able to continue working in the position through spring 2012.


Reclamation has introduced me to a wide variety of experiences. I have taken part in everyday tasks, such as data management, plus my favorite part of the job; field work. In the field I have made stream flow measurements and have received training on various types of equipment, such as Marsh-McBirney Flow Meters and a SonTek River Surveyor. I have also accompanied inspections and helped identify possible future project locations. This internship has been a great experience, allowing me to apply my studies and gain hands-on know-how. I have also previewed how my career could look in the future.


As an engineering aide I have worked on a large variety of projects. I have assisted my team with drafting reports, writing assessments, and gathering data. Putting together a booklet on the different types of habitat restoration structures used by Reclamation was one of the biggest projects I helped complete.


My primary goal for the future is to finish earning my Bachelor’s Degree. After this I am looking into many career options as a Civil Engineer. I also plan to continue my education to earn a Master’s Degree in either Environmental Engineering or Coastal Engineering.

Updated: October 19, 2012