Each year, the firm hosts an “extern” from Carleton College. These are undergraduate students who may be interested in pursuing design studies and architect careers, and their 1-2 weeks here are designed to give them a taste of every aspect of our profession. Our most recent extern, Karen Chen, shares reflections from her November externship. Her post has been slightly edited for brevity.
I had the privilege and pleasure of being dipped into the professional sphere of architecture for a week at Hennebery Eddy Architects. During the externship application process, I was attracted to Hennebery Eddy’s demonstrated core values of innovative design, responsive service, and the obligation that firm members take ownership in their work. They aligned with my developing interests in art, STEM, and environmental and social justice — what would be more complementary than a discipline that uses considerations in aesthetics and physical function to create structures for people to inhabit in the real world?
I was exposed to an eye-opening, informative slice of the architectural industry and what professional life entailed. I gleaned a ton of knowledge and insight about architect careers simply through watching and talking with architects in various roles. Through shadowing, observing meetings, and conversations, I have a firmer handle on topics like entrance into the field, schooling, school-to-career transitions, internships, and career and job development. I both sat in on meetings about projects and accompanied architects who had volunteered to take me to tours of those project sites, including the Clackamas County fire stations, the new PDX terminal, a commercial renovation at Columbia Square, a factory cafeteria, and community college buildings.