Getting to Know Montclair on Bike

Internships come in all forms of experiences; and graduating senior Duke Hong Jr. was able use his major to see every aspect of the town of Montclair, including the campus, just by pedaling.

With a major in geoscience and a minor in geographic information science, Hong landed an internship with the Montclair Sate University’s Health and Safety organization which led to a job within the Montclair fire department.

Starting in the summer of his junior year, Hong began working for the campus. “I mapped whatever they needed me to map, all things utilities,” Hong said.

One campus experience that interested Hong the most was his work with the outdoor lighting fixtures. “With one of the projects I worked on, PSE&G was charging the school for some of the lights on the wooden poles on campus. We discovered that some of the lights that they were charging us for didn’t exist. So we mapped them all, and found out most of them didn’t actually exist. We sat down with PSE&G in a meeting and confronted them,” Hong said.

Hong’s experience proved that if this internship were not an available position on campus, the University would have been overcharged. Hong believes that keeping this internship alive and well would benefit not only students working in it but also the University.
With such a background in searching out particular spots around campus, Hong fit right in with his current position working for the Montclair Fire Department. In this position he was able to bike down all the streets of Montclair searching out every fire hydrant in the town. When one is located, Hong said, “We got to each fire hydrant, take a picture of it, and then went back to the office to upload them to a map, it was all digital.”

This knowledge of streets proved beneficial as well, “I did learn a lot about Montclair, mostly because we biked every street,” Hong said.

Matt Frazita, graduating senior and friends with Hong said, “Duke can probably walk blindfolded through Montclair. He knows where all the good food is too.”

When asked about a memorable experience biking along the streets of Montclair, Hong said, “I was recording a hydrant, just biking along, then all of a sudden there was a black SUV in front of me and a black SUV behind me. Someone walks out and asks me if they could have a bit of my time, and I’m like woah this looks like the secret service. Turns out the head of the NSA lives in Montclair, and I was just in front of his yard with a GPS looking really suspicious.”

While that experience was intimidating, the most challenging aspect of it to Hong was, “Waking up, showing up whenever is needed type of deal, and also learning about how to use all of the stuff, we learned a lot about GIS [Geographic Information System] but not a lot about the GPS unit,” Hong said. While the GPS has more of a difficulty working in the rain, the job of creating a full map of Montclair was done everyday through the course of three months.

Hong believes that all he has accomplished in Montclair will be things he will take with him even after his graduation this May. “I like doing this kind of stuff,” Hong said. “I learned a lot that helps me with my major: the internship and the job.” Through the internship through the university, and the job that happened because of it, Hong is anticipating what the future will hold.
When asked one phrase Hong will take away from both experience, Hong said, “Stay in your own lane. My boss would say it all the time, sounds good to me.”

Montclair State | New Jersey

Jacqueline Stiles

Jacqueline is a sophomore with a major in English and a minor in journalism. She is a contributing writer in the Montclarion.