Building the next generation

Student interns work side by side with construction professionals to help build the NextGen Precision Health Institute.

July 27, 2020
Contact: Kenny Gerling,

It was a cold day in January 2019 when Madie Churchill started as a project engineer intern for Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., the construction manager for the NextGen Precision Health Institute. Churchill is a senior civil engineering major who is minoring in construction management.

Madie Churchill standing in a blue top in front of the columns and Jesse Hall

Madie Churchill is a putting her civil engineering major to work as a project engineer intern for the NextGen Precision Health Institute.

Though the coronavirus pandemic put a four-month pause on her in-person work, Churchill is back on the job and thrilled with the progress being made on the construction site.

“It’s cool looking back where we started on the ground level because now we’re at the penthouse level,” she said. 

“A lot of people will tell me that they’re seeing so much progress on the institute,” Churchill said. “I feel really proud I get to be a part of it and help make a huge impact for Mizzou.”

When completed, the NextGen Precision Health Institute will be a 265,000-square-foot collaboration hub where researchers from Mizzou and the UM System will tackle some of the world’s biggest medical challenges.

To help bring the complex structure to life, teams of construction specialists collaborate and bring expertise from their individual disciplines. Among them are many Mizzou student interns who are gaining hands-on experience in their chosen fields. Though many of the internships end in August, these students are leaving a lasting mark on campus.

Barry Keubler in a suit and tie

Barry Kuebler is a project management intern for the Next Gen Precision Health Institute and is learning how building plans are implemented in the field.

Barry Kuebler, another Tiger intern, is a senior majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering. This summer, he is a project management intern for PayneCrest Electric and Communications, the group responsible for powering the facility and integrating systems such as fire alarms and thermostats.

Kuebler is serving as a pre-apprentice to some of PayneCrest’s electricians – a role that is helping him learn how building plans are implemented in the field.

“Mizzou has helped me become more knowledgeable in the principles of engineering, which helps me complete my job in a more efficient way,” he said.

Kuebler said this is his second summer as an intern for PayneCrest, but his first working on a facility like the NextGen Institute. He said he’s interested in working with PayneCrest again after graduation.

man in construction clothes in front of construction site

Jacob Reed's internship as a project manager allows him to collaborate with many types of subcontractors.

With so many types of specialists working on the Institute, it’s important to have a team dedicated to keeping track of everyone’s responsibilities. Jacob Reed is a senior studying mechanical engineering and a summer project management intern for Murphy Co., a St. Louis building design firm that is collaborating with many of the subcontractors working on the institute.

“It’s not your standard internship,” Reed said. “There are important things they expect from me.” Reed said he’s involved in tracking labor progress and equipment inventory, among other duties.

Though Reed’s internship is finished in August, he’s considering continuing to work for Murphy Co. after graduation.

“I have a lot of pride in getting an internship and working on such a huge project,” Reed said. “Every day I get to walk the site and develop new skills. There’s been so much progress and it’s incredible to contribute to something that will be so great for Mizzou.”

The NextGen Precision Health Institute is part of the NextGen Precision Health Initiative and will unite the four UM System universities, MU Health Care and industry partners to tackle the biggest medical challenges facing Missourians and all of society. For more information, visit the institute’s website at

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