by Katherine Francesconi
I am an engineer. Having graduated from the University of Georgia last spring with a degree in Biological Engineering, I was laser-focused on a career of numbers, equations, computer programs. Nowhere in the engineering handbook did it call for me to be a public speaker.
So, imagine my horror when I stood before dozens of people on July 18 at the Tucker Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, stepping out of my comfort zone to deliver a staff report on a variance case. I wanted to throw up.
Fortunately, I got through the presentation with my faculties intact and was told that I did a pretty good job.
That’s really been the story of my summer internship at Tucker’s City Hall: a little bit of engineering, but more broadening my horizons as a young professional.
Over the course of the past three months I’ve been tasked with several projects that have opened my eyes to the inner-workings of city government. I led a team of volunteers from Tucker High School on a project to inventory all of the City’s parks and recreation assets. I drafted documents to help the City’s efforts to redesign its website. I compiled a list of potential road resurfacing projects that could be funded with SPLOST money. I got my feet wet in the Finance Department.
There’s more, but I’ve got a word count limit on this article.
One of the projects I worked on that really got my engineering juices flowing was Phase II of the Downtown Streetscape. I used computer software to do measurements and project where sidewalks should go and how utility poles should be relocated along First Avenue. Having seen the Streetscape of Main Street, I’m excited that my work will help continue the beautification of Tucker’s thriving downtown.
There is one other major takeaway from my work this summer: the people I met at City Hall. As a young woman embarking upon a career in a male-dominated field, I was so fortunate to work under – and learn from – some amazing women including City Manager Tami Hanlin, Assistant City Manager Cindy Jenkins and Deputy Community Development Director Courtney Lankford.
As I leave Tucker, I will remember it as the place where I truly became a professional. I learned not to be nervous. I learned what it’s like to work full-time in a fast-paced setting. It’s an experience that I will take with me wherever my career path may go.