In 2015, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority was honored to host three student interns from the local Tech 21 program. Offered at San Francisco’s John O’Connell High School, Tech 21 is a career-focused program that provides students hands-on experience with architecture, construction, engineering and the automotive industries. The program also incorporates Math and English curriculum into daily lessons.  Through the program, students have the opportunity to learn about construction materials, power tools and building designs through projects created in class. They also have the opportunity to gain field experience by participating in field trips and completing internships.

Defani Alvarez and Paola Gonzalez, two of Transbay’s Tech 21 interns, were able to share their experience working with the TJPA and associated contractors. Read on to find out what these impressive young women learned during their internship.

Tech 21 Interns and Turner Construction

Tech 21 interns Johana Rosas, Defani Alvarez, and Paola Gonzalez (pictured 3rd, 4th, and 5th from the left, respectively) visit the Transbay site with members of the project’s construction management team.


Q: What made you want to join Tech 21?

Paola: I like seeing things grow and expand. It’s something that I’ve never done before so I thought it would be interesting to try something different.

Defani: I like the way that we all work together as a group and the new experience that I was going to have as well. I never thought I would be doing something like this.

Q: What made you want to stick with Tech 21?

Paola: The teacher is really nice and the program also involves English and Math. I felt like that was a way for me to understand the math parts a lot easier and actually stick them to real life experiences and situations.

Defani: I figured out that I really liked it and that I learned a lot. Like the experience of working with new tools that I’ve never worked with and learning how to communicate with people.

Q: What other benefits has Tech 21 had for you?

Paola: They brought us here to TJPA. Honestly, I don’t really come down here a lot and I didn’t know about this going on. I think it is really cool.

Defani: There have been a variety of benefits like coming here and giving me a chance to open myself up to the real world.

Q: What have you learned during your time at Transbay?

Paola: I have learned that a lot of time and effort go into making something like this and that they care a lot about the community. There is a lot of different trades that I didn’t ever think about that come together to make this.

Defani: I have learned a lot and that it is a really big, important project and how a lot of people are here. It’s not just one group working on it, there are a variety of people working on it. All the different companies stick together to accomplish their goal.

Q: Would you recommend a Transbay internship to other high school students? Why?

Paola: Yes I would because I honestly look forward to Thursdays because every Thursday I get to do something different and spend time with different people. I get to learn what they do, where they started and see where they ended up. We also get to see how the project is coming along.

Defani: Yes, because I feel that coming here I have learned a lot and really like it. For me, I like being involved in a job like this as well. A lot of people who want to do a job like this would really like it and look forward to it.