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Internship Advice

It isn’t typical to have an intern come back into your office after their few-month stint is over, especially not three separate times. But we just couldn’t get enough of Myrisha Colston! So we thought we should get some expert advice on internships from our in-office expert.

Myrisha is a 23-year-old second year graduate student at Ball State University. She first came to intern with Schmidt Associates while she was in high school in 2011, again four years later, and again this year. She will graduate with her Masters of Architecture in May of 2018. She plans to apply to firms as soon as possible, but she wants to take a little time to travel before starting her career.
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How did you know you wanted to become an architect?

It all began when I attended H.L. Harshman Magnet Middle School. I was a part of their math, science, engineering magnet. During my 7th and 8th grade school years there, I took Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses and learned how to draft, use the Autodesk Inventor computer program, and work with machinery such as the band saw and drill press. After graduating 8th grade, I was accepted in the math, science, engineering magnet at Arsenal Technical High School and remained a part of PLTW. During my junior year, I had the opportunity to choose between taking a class on aerospace engineering or a class on civil engineering/architecture. I chose to take the latter.

Before the end of my junior year, my professor of that class asked every student to submit a résumé to him. That summer after school was out, I received a call from an assistant at Schmidt Associates saying they had received my résumé and would like to interview me. I interviewed a week later and was hired as a high school intern. I worked in the IPS department under Deb Kunce for that summer and the rest of my senior year until I went off to college. It was in those moments of being surrounded by people who pursued and worked in the field I was hesitant about pursuing myself that truly helped me make my final decision of wanting to become an Architect.

What has it been like to be an intern with Schmidt Associates?

I chose to come back here this third time specifically because of what I saw and experienced in my years prior. It was the culture and the people that make up Schmidt Associates. I have always questioned going into architecture because I wasn’t quite sure how I was giving back to the world with it. With Schmidt Associates, one of their main focuses is just that. They focus on their clients and make sure the design is everything and more that the clients want. They showed me that architecture in their office isn’t just about being in the office and working all day every week. The times where they are meeting the clients to do puzzle piece exercises, volunteering for various local organizations, participating in CANstruction, and more is just a few ways Schmidt Associates gives back to the world.

Schmidt Associates does not just use mottos and values as words, you see those things within each person in the office no matter which department they are in. I haven’t been able to work with everyone, but everyone I have come across has been very supportive during my time interning. They helped with questions I had on projects as well as making my time here memorable. Some of my favorite things I have participated in at Schmidt were: the events they have such as the office Thanksgiving dinner, white elephant gift exchange, ice cream socials, volunteering to feed the homeless, and being a part of the CANstruction team on build day.

What did you learn as an intern?

In terms of technical skills, I learned various things and brushed up on my current knowledge. Coming into Schmidt Associates, I knew the program Revit well. Constantly modelling and working on projects helped me advance my skills and knowledge even more, especially in terms of modelling in place and creating separate families using reference planes. In school and even today, I struggle with wall sections and understanding how they go together as well as knowing all the various materials available to use. During my internships, working on wall sections has allowed me to understand how the walls come together and what each part does for the wall. Going on site visits allowed me to see the material and structures during the process. I know it will be a continuous learning process as I grow in my field.

I also learned a little bit about myself in this process. Being at Schmidt Associates has opened my eyes to the fact I may want to work in a field other than residential architecture during my career. Eventually I still want to be a part of a residential firm to get experience in it to see if I would like it, but I have enjoyed working with the projects for K-12 and Higher Education. My passion for 3D modelling and rendering has grown as I have worked in Revit and used Lumion for my first time here.

What is your advice for future interns?

I would say to come in open-minded, ready to learn, and ready to work. Everyone in Schmidt Associates understands that this may be a new experience for some and more experience for others, but they are willing to help you grow in your career regardless. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, better to ask than to spend hours working on something and it be wrong. Relax and enjoy your time as you learn about your field.
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We will begin our search for Spring 2018 Architecture Interns in the following months. Check out our careers page if you are interested in applying!