As the future co-located middle and high schools begin to take shape, a former Duxbury student is learning the ropes and preparing for her role in the building’s continued construction this summer. Emma Kellar, DHS ’09, is currently interning with KV Associates on the school construction project during her winter break from school. Some of her major responsibilities include managing paperwork when changes are made to plans or when there is a request for information.

Kellar is a fourth-year construction engineering and management student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, more commonly known as Virginia Tech. The five-year undergraduate Bachelor of Science program focuses on construction management with engineering and business management as additional major areas of study.

This week, Kellar walked through the current high school and went into every room and closet to quantify how much will have to be thrown away when the building is demolished. Kellar said she is enjoying the experience.

“I love it,” she said. “I learn so much just by sitting in on meetings and watching the construction. It’s entertaining.”

Kellar got in touch with superintendent Benedict Tantillo in the fall, asking him for assistance with finding an internship. Dr. Tantillo put Kellar in touch with the project managers and superintendents, who offered her the internship.

“Dr. Tantillo was crucial to me getting this internship,” she said. “He was a great help.”

Kellar’s interest in construction was piqued when she embarked on mission trips through St. John the Evangelist Church in Duxbury. When it came to picking a major in college, she originally planned on simply doing engineering.

“I soon realized that I wanted a major that would allow me to be hands on in the field and so I decided on construction engineering and management,” she said.

The program involves building construction, civil engineering, concrete design and field design courses. Kellar’s capstone design project was to go through the process of constructing an ice hockey rink. She had to go through the proposal and planning processes and ended up with a fully functioning model.

When asked what her favorite part of her internship is, Kellar said simply watching the construction was fascinating.

“It blows my mind that this 100 foot steel column is standing upright, secured by only four bolts at the bottom,” she said. “I just love it.”

In the next few months, Kellar plans to apply to the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps. If she is selected to the highly competitive program, she said she could do anything from being in a combat battalion to doing construction management building Navy projects to working for public works and facilities management for naval bases.

“My program develops well-rounded students who will be able to use their skills and apply them anywhere,” she said. “I have already made contacts and am confident I will have a job after graduation.”

Ten years down the road, Kellar said she sees herself as a project manager or superintendent. She realizes that is a hefty goal, but is confident she will achieve it. In the near future, Kellar will be interning with Dimeo Construction this summer as they continue work on the new school building.