I was first introduced to Payette through an office tour with my Virginia Tech Architectural studio when we visited Boston last fall. I remember walking through the office, seeing some of the key projects in design and feeling as though I could one day be an asset to the firm with my growing interest in healthcare design. This summer I had my first opportunity to do just that, as an intern at Payette.
My short summer here has taught me various technical skills and has enhanced my knowledge of thought-provoking design. I’ve spent my time working on the Department of Public Health Tower Renovation (DPH) project. With my team, I helped develop design solutions and conduct studies on how to translate our design intentions for the renovation throughout different moments within the building. These studies were vital to my growth as a designer because I was able to see how carefully decisions are made, and how a quick set of drawings of a space can speak volumes. The studies and conversations ranged from ceiling heights and lighting fixtures, to facade design and entry layouts. It was validating to have a part in these integral design conversations and to have the opportunity to potentially mold the building into its final form. I also participated in the project meetings which gave me insight into how we collaborate with our consultants.
Something incredibly encouraging to me was the open invitation to ask questions at any time or to voice my suggestions. Even when jargon was thrown around that I had never heard, there was always an opportunity to ask those questions and get clarity on the situation without judgement. That allowed me to feel comfortable with some of the more complex problems we were facing with the project, and therefore made me feel like a worthy asset to the team.
But something even more valuable than learning technical skills, this summer I developed a great network of people who encouraged me throughout this entire process. Architects can be portrayed as steely and competitive, but the people I met at Payette were always willing to invite new hires out to a happy hour, karaoke night or just a quick lunch, which made this new place feel familiar. I am grateful for the first day “buddy system,” which assigns a current employee to a new hire to introduce them to the firm, that brought me some of my closest friends here and who allowed me to feel comfortable in a new place which can be often intimidating. When I voiced interest in wanting to participate in a Clinical User meeting, I had support in finding a project to shadow so that I could experience that as soon as possible. It meant a great deal to me that my peers and colleagues were so willing to help me get the most out of my time here.
Although my internship went by quickly, I feel confident in the skills, relationships, and expectations I’ve developed for my work and in my everyday life. I look forward to culminating these new things as I progress throughout my architectural career.