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Namrata Govalkar (courtesy photo)

MiraCosta College Programs Putting Students to Work

Oceanside CA— Namrata Govalkar had an abundance of experience working as an architect in her native India. But that didn’t help her much finding work after she moved with her family to be closer to relatives in Oceanside.

Then she found MiraCosta College. Just one semester after she enrolled in the college to brush up on her skills and become more familiar with the business culture here, Govalkar – thanks to a growing MiraCosta College work-experience program – landed a summer gig with Alliance Engineering of California, which was engaged in a number of upgrade projects at the Oceanside Campus. Govalkar’s job monitoring how architectural renderings were being carried out by construction crews yielded invaluable benefits.

“The experience over the summer has helped me a lot in my transition here and it has made me more comfortable and confident in the work that I do,” she said.

MiraCosta College, which collaborates closely with business and industry in its extensive workforce development efforts, has seen the number of students taking part in its comprehensive Experiential Education Program more than double over the past four years. The Experiential Education Program comprises three elements: internships, cooperative work experience, and general work experience. Internships allow students to gain work experience in their field of study. Cooperative work experience does the same, but also encompasses students already working in their field of study. And general work experience allows students to earn college credit at a job not related to their field of study.

Last year, more than 260 students took part in internships and cooperative work experience. In addition, 150 students took advantage of general work experience.

“Our Experiential Education Program gives students excellent opportunities to gain experience and get an advantage in their job search or even in their existing job,” said Nina Lovejoy, the program coordinator. “It was a privilege to work with Namrata and see her gain skills and confidence as she prepared to interview with Alliance Engineering of California. Her excitement once she landed the internship and each time I saw her on campus over the summer was awesome. I can’t wait to see what her future holds.”

Govalkar enrolled at MiraCosta College shortly after moving with her husband and two children to Oceanside from India last year. Among the courses she took was a design class called Portfolio and Presentation, in which students develop a professional portfolio using their best work from previous architecture and drafting experience to highlight their design and drawing achievement while also preparing or polishing their resume and practicing interviewing skills. It was during the course that she heard about a job and internship fair being held at MiraCosta College, and it was through the fair that she was introduced to Frederick Snedeker, president at Alliance Engineering of California.

Snedeker ended up hiring Govalkar for the summer.

“Namrata did a wonderful job,” said Snedeker. “She gained exposure to every facet of construction at the site, and everybody who was involved in those particular facets of the project was impressed by her depth of knowledge, her competence, and her willingness to learn.”

Govalkar, 44, said she is now more determined than ever to continue working in the architectural field. “MiraCosta is a very good college, on the same level of a state university,” she said. “I am very grateful for the experience they provided me.”