In honor of National Intern Day, we wanted to get a better idea of what our internship is like at BRR. So, we decided to sit down with a few interns and get firsthand insight on their experience. This summer we are hosting more than 20 interns at BRR offices across the country, varying in experience levels and graduation dates. Each one brought a unique perspective with their individual experiences, but there were several consistent themes we spotted during our conversations:
Open ‘door’ policy
We maintain relatively open floor plans in each of our offices, so though there aren’t too many doors, our interns mentioned the helpful and inclusive culture across our offices. We pride ourselves in the respectful culture we’ve created, and we are glad this is being recognized. “It’s really impressive how nice everyone is. Even people that I have never seen, and will probably never work with, will talk to you in the lunchroom and that’s awesome,” said Isabel Das, University of Kansas.
Many mentioned how comfortable they feel going to anyone at BRR to ask questions and how willing everyone is to teach them. Devon Sams, Kennesaw State University, recalled, “I came in here thinking that I knew a lot. I thought I was good at Revit and then I experienced that shock, but in a very good way. Luckily, the people I work with were really good about teaching me and not making me feel like a burden if I had to ask a question. And there were lot of questions.”
A sense of community
BRR emphasizes the importance of giving back to the communities in which our team members live and work. Our interns mentioned how they noticed how many of our people find the time to volunteer or donate to causes across the community. “I think it’s great that you can get involved in the community with volunteering, but then there’s also a great community here at BRR,” shared Georgi Stapleton, University of Kansas.
Real work, not grunt work
There is an ongoing stereotype that an intern’s job is to get coffee, make copies and do the grunt work that no one else wants to do. That’s not the case at BRR. Our goal is to supplement our interns’ educations and give them real-life working experience to give them a true sense of what a career in architecture would look like.
“She (my principal-in-charge) is really good about asking me ‘what do you want to learn and what do you think you want to learn, is there anything that you think you’re missing?’ And I always feel like she’s really pushing me to be a real employee and not just an intern who’s here to do busy work. And that’s something that I really appreciate.” Devon Sams, Kennesaw State University, shares about his principal.
“You’re treated just like a regular employee,” Virginia Hammond, University of Arkansas, recounts her experience, “You’re working on the big projects even though you have a lot less experience and I think that’s a really great thing that not a lot of other firms are good about.”
Bailee Cota, The Pennsylvania State University, shares her thoughts on why she chose BRR, “You’re getting that good experience of a real internship where you’re doing that hands-on work with real deadlines and real projects. That was a huge deal for me. Learning how complex the process is and the communication necessary and all the different variables involved.”
Our Insider Series
In addition to the real-work experience, we also do as much as we can to teach them more about the architectural process. We have developed a program over the years called the Insider Series where we have different employees share their professional experience in a classroom setting. This is another part of our internship program that many pointed out as something that stood out to them about BRR.
“My biggest takeaway is we are really not taught these things in school. They teach us engineering and they teach us design but they don’t talk about day-to-day, realistic logistics,” shares Bailee Cota, The Pennsylvania State University, “The fact that the effort is being put in to teaching us that (as interns) is really impressive and really helpful.”
Our leadership team stresses the importance of continuing education and encourages all team members, not just interns, to ask questions constantly. Steven Yang, Kennesaw State University, recalls how helpful his team was, “I didn’t really know what questions to ask so it was helpful that they would come up to me and ask me ‘hey, do you know this?’ and then they could teach me.”
We want to thank every one of our interns for the great work they brought to the office each day this summer. Our firm remains dedicated to the architecture industry and is focused on providing a best-in-class internship experience for these students. If we have served our interns well, our intent is a few of them may choose to make their way back to BRR upon graduating. Not as interns, but as full-time employees.
About the author:
Joan Redhair, Vice President of Human Resources, is committed to balancing the business needs of BRR with the people and relationships that make up our culture. She exhibits a passion for fostering a work environment that is both engaging and encouraging to our employees. As VP of HR, Joan leads our employee recruiting efforts and the development and implementation of new company policies. She also works closely with our insurance brokers to maintain consistent benefits packages for our employees. Email her.