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FGMA Texas Region Welcomes Two High School Juniors for Weeklong Internship

Hands-on experience offers real-world insight into the field of architecture and design

As part of the firm’s mission – We Build Community – FGMA is dedicated to offering immersive experiences throughout our offices nationwide to provide students with the chance to explore their passions firsthand and develop new skills. Teams at the FGMA Austin office offered insights to a high school internship program run by the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (ARS), a school in the Austin Independent School District (AISD). During a week in February, two ARS students visited the FGMA Austin office to gain hands-on experience in the field of architecture and design.

The hands-on internship at the FGMA Austin office offered real-world experience with architects

As the key host for the internship, Kris Waugh, former ARS principal and current PK-12 Educational Researcher and Planner at FGMA, gave high school juniors Crystal and Kate an introduction to the firm. Upon arrival, they both received welcome packages with FGMA materials to help them feel like part of the team and remember their experience.

Crystal and Kate started the day with a welcome package and an introduction to the firm by FGMA

Texas Region Managing Director Jaime Palomo

The first day of the internship offered an overview of the firm led by FGMA Texas Region Managing Director Jaime Palomo. The two learned about the firm’s work culture, how we serve our clients and the diverse projects we work on across our eight practices throughout the country. The pair also learned from the marketing team about the FGMA brand and received instructions about capturing photos and thoughts each day to prepare their own presentation for the FGMA team on the final day of the internship.

The days following involved multiple in-depth opportunities to dive into the architectural profession. A key focus was helping the two students learn about the full architectural project process. Alma McElroy, FGMA project manager for the Houston Elementary School Modernization project, informed Crystal and Kate about the many steps involved from design concept to construction. The two students then went on a site visit to the project in progress and toured the future campus of the school.

FGMA project manager Alma McElroy introduced the interns to the Houston Elementary School Modernization project, which they visited later in the day

Crystal and Kate also had a very informative lunch during the week. In recognition of the AIA statistic that only 27% of registered architects in the industry are women, FGMA Austin and (via Zoom) Fort Worth women architects and designers offered Crystal and Kate a friendly lunch to share their own experiences.

Crystal and Kate lunched with the ladies of FGMA Austin and Fort Worth while discussing career paths and gender parity within the architecture profession

As a firm dedicated to gender parity in the profession and the working world, the architects and designers taking part in the lunch were proud to share about their careers and point out that 48% of employees at FGMA are women.

Crystal and Kate also had the opportunity to interview several of our team members throughout the week to explore the many different roles found within an architecture firm. Those who shared their particular expertise included Allison Stoos (Faith-based Design Practice Leader), Rebecca Richter (PK-12 Design Principal), James Lindsay (Municipal), Brianna Greschel and Erin Moyer (Interior Design), Rich DePalma (Business Development), Wes Rodberry (Sustainability and Revit modeling), Kia Morris (Texas Regional Marketing Manager) and Kate Besler (Digital Marketing and Communications Director). The two students had a chance to learn from these professionals about career details, differences in client types and stakeholders across practices and current projects on the boards.

Both interns had the opportunity for informational interviews across multiple FGMA practice areas

On the final day of their internship, Crystal and Kate gave the teams a presentation of their own showcasing the many things they learned and how their perspective on architecture changed throughout the week.

In a memorable moment for all, the two presented FGMA with a recognition award on behalf of the ARS Junior Pathway Internship Program before they departed. FGMA was honored to host these talented students and to share our knowledge and passion for architecture and design with them.

More information on career opportunities with FGMA can be found here.


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