Last year we made significant changes to our internship program, chronicled in a series of blog posts about the innovations we made, the interns’ experiences, and our lessoned learned and successes. We are excited to continue the series and share our 2022 internship program. We have implemented some changes based on last years’ experience, and this year’s interns are already making huge contributions to BRIC projects and initiatives.
First, meet BRIC’s 2022 interns:
Raphael Li: Raphael is a fourth-year architecture student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. His interests include philanthropy and education architecture that is functional and represents the sense of a place.
Elena Hennerman: Elena is a fourth-year architecture student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her interests include sustainable environments, nature, and the capabilities of architecture in thoughtful design and sustainability.
To prepare for the summer, our intern advocacy committee sought new BRIC team members and looked for meaningful projects our interns could immediately dive into when starting. We were thrilled to welcome design staff members Alesha Hase and Molly Esteve to the intern committee. Alesha and Molly volunteered and excitedly got involved in program planning bringing with them strong skills and experiences in working with and mentoring students. In addition to their roles as skilled designers, Molly is also an educator with a knack for mentorship, and Alesha is a high school volleyball coach. We couldn’t have asked for better collaborators! Molly and Alesha are providing day-to-day guidance and mentorship for Raphael and Elena, making sure they’re getting plenty of attention and support as they engage in project work.
Another key part of this year’s prep was finding specific initiatives and project work for our interns so they’d be deeply involved in meaningful work from day one. During Raphael’s first week, he developed architectural graphics for our A4LE James D. MacConnell Award submission. Raphael developed detailed refinements to several graphics while working hand-in-hand with David Johnson and our marketing team to understand the project story and the context of the architectural graphics. He helped deliver this big submission, all while under a tight deadline and working remotely from New York before he made it out to Portland to work with us in person!
Elena also jumped headfirst into key project work, starting on our Lake Oswego Middle School project. In collaboration with Raphael, Elena explored the function and character of a learning stair and commons located in the heart of the school. Together, they wove in local ecological and cultural research, as well as reflections from students and staff, to design a common experience unique to the site and the community.
Lake Oswego Middle School Learning Stair Concept Board created by Elena.
Lake Oswego Middle School Learning Studio rendering developed by Raphael.
We also made a concerted effort for our interns to meet as many staff members as possible and foster additional learning opportunities across the firm. At the beginning of the program, we hosted an office-wide happy hour for Raphael and Elena to share their interests and what they hoped to gain out of the internship. Elena and Raphael both gave informal presentations about themselves, their architectural and design experiences thus far in school, and their interests and goals for their BRIC internship. The event was a lot of fun and a great success in creating connections between staff and our interns.
A Few More Weeks To Go!
In addition to ongoing work on BRIC projects, Raphael and Elena are playing a key role in the early stages of another very important project—BRIC’s upcoming office tenant improvement! They are conducting hands-on research focused heavily on current trends and capabilities in highly sustainable offices as well as hybrid work environments, in a world where in-office and remote work will both be important. They recently toured the first Living Building in Portland, PAE’s new headquarters, to learn first-hand about the innovative and nature-driven sustainable aspects of this incredible building.
Raphael, Alesha, Elena, and Molly touring PAE’s new headquarters with firm Principal, Ruwan Jayaweera.
It was also an opportunity to understand how they operate a fully hybrid environment where workstations are reserved as needed rather than being dedicated to specific staff. The findings of their research will contribute to the ideas and planning for our office improvements as well as give them ample exposure to current and future design trends and priorities.
BRIC interns and mentors join Trevor Clark and Sybresha Pridgen for a tour of Edwards Elementary School site in Newberg, OR.
Raphael and Elena will also have opportunities to tour a number of BRIC projects, including Oregon City’s Gardiner and Tumwata Middle Schools and Sherwood High School, and continue working closely with Molly and Alesha as design work continues on Lake Oswego Middle School and other projects. They have a few more weeks to pack in a lot more learning opportunities!