BRIC Internship Series

2023 BRIC Intern Program: Expanding the Opportunities

| Molly Esteve

2023 BRIC Intern Program: Expanding the Opportunities

This is our third year implementing our reimagined internship program and we couldn’t be more excited for this year’s interns to engage in our multi-layered program. We have been able to emphasize our interns’ individual interests and provide the support of an expanded and passionate team.

A highlight from last year’s program included an early opportunity for our whole staff to get to know our interns and make our interns feel more at home and a part of the office. Last week, we hosted a lunchtime gathering where each of our six interns shared a little more about themselves. We’re thrilled to introduce them!

Meet Our Interns

Alex Yarovaya Alex is a fourth-year architecture student at Portland State University and lives locally in Clackamas. She met Molly as part of her studio, working on the design of an innovation and technology hub in a Portland landmark house. She loves that BRIC projects lead with listening as part of our Equity Commissioning approach. She’s exploring the design of wayfinding systems, working on a current BRIC project at Sherwood High School to expand wayfinding on the campus and using this as part of a self-led research project.

Valentina Sanz Valentina is a fourth-year architecture student at Cornell University. She is originally from Venezuela and lives in the Dominican Republic. BRIC’s Equity Commissioning process drew her to us for the rigor in our process of fully engaging with communities to bring change to design. She supports the schematic design development of David Douglas High School CTE project. A vivid visual storyteller, Valentina has collaborated with Jenny to capture her high school experience as a CTE student at DDHS through digital collages and narration.

Elena Hennerman Elena is from Laramie, Wyoming and joined us last summer between her third and fourth year in her five-year program at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. She’s been working remotely with BRIC since January and is now here in person with us for the summer, continuing her research into sustainable design and creating several sustainability diagrams and planning tools. She is also developing her technical skills by contributing to the construction documentation of the new Lake Oswego Middle School.

Joi Wood Joi is in her third year of a five-year program at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She joined BRIC as an intern in January and has been working on a research project exploring student-center design processes for student safety and belonging in schools. She is a recipient of the 2023 Gensler Rising Black Designers Scholarship, and said her work at BRIC helped inform her scholarship application. Joi grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jenny Le Jenny just graduated from David Douglas High School and will be attending University of Oregon in the fall, studying architecture. She participated in the ACE Mentor program and connected with BRIC during a Career Talk at DDSH in February . She was drawn to the firm’s investment in justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Jenny supports the schematic design development of a new career technical education center at David Douglas High School, having participated in this program as a student. She has collaborated with Valentina to visualize her student-story as part of the DDHS design process.

Asiyah Muhammad Asiyah is a rising Senior at Roosevelt High School and ACE Mentor program participant. She recently attended an ACE Mentor summer camp in Denver and will be working with the BRIC team to develop her portfolio, gain exposure to different career pathways in architecture, and support community-based projects and engagement. BRIC’s core values resonated with her, driving her interest to work with us this summer.

Progressing our Goals

With this year’s intern program and cohort, we’re making strides on two of the key goals that were part of our re-envisioned intern program in 2021: expanding our engagement with students beyond the traditional summer internship timeline and broadening our reach to engage with students earlier in their educational journeys.

We have two interns working with BRIC outside of just the summer months: Elena and Joi. After a successful summer last year, we welcomed Elena back part-time throughout the school year as a remote employee. This has allowed us to expand on the projects she has been involved in and offer a greater depth of understanding. Joi joined us in the spring this year , and will also be presenting a session alongside Karina Ruiz and Molly Esteve at the EdSpaces conference in November. Their session is titled “Communities of Care: Reimagined Design Processes for Student Safety and Belonging.”

We also have a high school senior and a recent high school graduate joining us for the summer. We met both Jenny and Asiyah through our involvement in the ACE Mentor program. Asiyah is joining us for a four-week ACE Summer Workplace Experience shadowing opportunity that will build upon her ACE Mentor program experiences. Jenny will be with us for the full summer before she begins her first year of college in the fall, giving her an early perspective into the architectural profession.

Additional Perspectives

We’ve also expanded our mentor team again this year to provide additional support and engagement with our intern cohort. Alesha Hase and Molly Esteve are involved once again, joined by colleagues Natalie deFrance Dreyer, William Hallgren, and Octavio Gutiérrez. William is looking forward to creating meaningful experiences for our interns that help provide a more accurate picture of the “real world” of architecture that students don’t learn in school. Natalie is recognizes the value of the new perspectives and fresh ideas that mentors and interns are sharing with each other. Octavio was instrumental in bringing in Jenny and Asiyah through his involvement in the Portland ACE Mentor program and our David Douglas High School CTE Center project.

Stay tuned for more updates about our interns as they continue their research, project engagement, and Portland summer experiences!

BRIC office in Portland, OR

Listening is one of the most important elements of our process – we can’t wait to hear from you!