As part of an externship program in development at the LSU School of Architecture, nine second- and third-year architecture students have been placed at firms across the United States for part of the 2013 winter break.
Associate Professor Greg Watson has been instrumental in launching the externship program at the School of Architecture, placing a first group of LSU architecture students at firms earlier this spring. Watson helped develop the externship program at Mississippi State University, where he ran the program for several years before he joined LSU in 2012.
“At Mississippi State University, we used the externship program as a way of introducing first-, second-, and third-year students to practice by placing them in well-known firms that were doing challenging work across the country and internationally,” said Watson. He said the idea behind implementation of an externship program at the School of Architecture is to use the program as a lever to help create demand and support for a more formal cooperative education and internship program.
The students will spend one week—five business days, December 16–20—observing and working with architects and designers, investigating and experiencing a typical week in an architectural practice. For many of the students participating, the externship will be their first experience inside a design office.
The participating firms offer students the opportunity to experience a normal week at the office. By shadowing professionals in their field of study, the students are realistically introduced to what the practice involves. Externships are voluntary positions, and the students are responsible for all expenses during the week, including transportation costs, lodging, and meals. The sponsoring firms agree to devote their time and expertise to mentor the next generation of professionals in the field.
During a typical externship, students participate in a wide range of experiences and activities, including sitting in on staff and client meetings; assisting with projects; visiting job sites; discussing current trends in the practice and profession; helping prepare reports, editing, and proofreading; and observing office tasks and asking questions.
The nine students were placed at prestigious firms in Seattle, New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, and South Bend, Indiana:
Third-year architecture student Aimee Richard was placed at Olson Kundig Architects in Seattle, Washington. A Seattle-based firm of more than 90 employees, Olson Kundig Architects’ worldwide work includes museums, commercial design, academic buildings, exhibit design, interior design, places of worship, and residences—often for art collectors.
Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, or LTL Architects, will sponsor second-year students Andrea Hendrickson and Ben Champagne. LTL Architects is a design intensive architecture firm located in New York City. LTL Architects engages a diverse range of work, from large scale academic and cultural buildings to interiors and speculative research projects. The firm has completed academic, institutional, residential, and hospitality projects throughout the United States.
Third-year students Jacob Cotton and Atianna Cordova have been accepted for externships at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, or SOM, in Chicago. SOM has offices around the world offering architecture, building services, digital design, graphics, industrial design, interior design, structural and civil design, engineering, sustainable design, and urban design and planning.
James Babin, a second-year architecture student, will shadow professionals at H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture in New York City. Centrally located in Manhattan, H3 is a nationally recognized leader in the planning and design of active public spaces, including performing art centers, theaters, museums, libraries, and parks, as well as corporate, academic, residential, commercial, and mixed-use buildings and interiors.
Nick Lauve, third-year student, will be an extern at Perkins + Will in Dallas, Texas. An interdisciplinary design firm serving clients from offices around the world, Perkins+Will employs more LEED Accredited Professionals than any design firm in North America. The firm practices architecture, interiors, branded environments, planning and strategies, and urban design, with clients in aviation and transit, corporate and commercial, civic, healthcare, higher and K-12 education, and science and technology markets.
Third-year student Dasjon Jordan will be an extern at Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects in Atlanta, Georgia. Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects executes designs and management work for project types ranging from airports and hospitals to corporate and industrial campuses. In addition to architecture, services offered by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects include graphic design, exhibit design, interior design, planning, programming, and research.
Andy DeRouen is a third-year student who participated in an externship at Olson Kundig Architects in Seattle during the spring 2013 semester. DeRouen will shadow professionals at Duncan G. Stroik Architect, LLC, in South Bend, Indiana, this fall. Stroik’s award-winning work focuses on religious and classical architecture and includes Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in California, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Wisconsin, and Saint Joseph Cathedral in South Dakota.
“The LSU School of Architecture Externship Program provides students with an incredible opportunity to not only experience the excitement of our profession first hand, but also establish valuable professional connections around the country. My involvement in the program has heavily influenced my future areas of concentration as well as career goals,” said DeRouen.
Students who wish to participate in externships are instructed to complete applications and submit a resume and portfolio to Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator Greg Watson. A committee from the School of Architecture reviews all documentation and selects applicants who the committee believes will benefit from participation in the program. Participating firms are given the option to review all student documentation before agreeing to have students at their firms.
About Greg Watson
Associate Professor Greg Watson interests are in basic design education, representation, landscape, and materials. Watson holds a BA in psychology from Columbia University and a Master in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to joining the faculty at the LSU School of Architecture in 2012, he served as an associate professor of architecture at Mississippi State University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 2001, he was selected as the Nadine Carter Russell Chair in Design at Louisiana State University. As an architect, he has practiced in Chicago, Maine, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Minnesota. His work includes several award-winning school and university projects. Watson’s research has been supported by grants from the New York State Psychiatric Institute, the Mississippi State University Office of Research, the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. His paintings, drawings, and prints have been exhibited at galleries in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Annapolis, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
About LSU School of Architecture
LSU School of Architecture students develop a solid foundation of traditional design, hand building, and drawing skills and learn to use computer and technological resources. The architecture program at LSU provides a balance between broadening educational experiences and discipline-focused coursework. In addition to learning how to make buildings, students develop a sense of professionalism and leadership in shaping the world by learning how to see, think, and act creatively. For more information, visit architecture.lsu.edu.
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