Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Degree/Major: Landscape Architecture
Where did you intern? What did you do there?
Over the past two semesters, I’ve been working as an intern at Savino & Miller Design Studio, a local firm that provides services in landscape architecture, architecture, urban design and planning. During this time, I’ve been involved from start to finish on the development of multiple projects at the firm.
How did you get your internship?
When looking for internships I focused my search on local firms that reflected my interests, aligned with my personal projects and could help me learn to be the kind of professional I wanted to become. Initially, I had a list of about six firms. At this stage, I worked on my resume and portfolio, translating it from Spanish to English and updating it with my latest work as well as writing cover letters for each firm I considered. After this was ready, I contacted the firms individually by email and expressed my interest to work with them.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process?
My main advice would be to go with an open mind and ready to take on any challenge! As an intern, you are exposed to different areas of the firm’s scope of work and to projects at different stages of development. Also, for the first time on your professional career you are exposed to real-live projects where you have the liberty to explore and put your knowledge to work while being mentored, so even when it might not seem obvious, this is your time to take risks and shine!
What projects did you work on?
I started my internship experience developing a 3D model for the City of Miami Beach Future Community Park and ended up making a video showcasing the entire project. I’ve also collaborated in a residential project in West Palm Beach on which I’ve worked on the design development and the construction documents. Other projects I’ve been involved with include: West Avenue, Miami Beach, Cervecería La Tropical, Miami, DDA Baywalk-Riverwalk, Miami and The Barnacle Historic State Park in Coconut Grove.
How did your internship connect back to your coursework?
FIU master’s in landscape architecture program does great work through their faculty to convey the creative and technical process behind the practice of the profession — from critical thinking to how to deal with local materials, native plants, construction documents and aesthetically pleasing but clear graphics. These are all assets that are very much needed and in great alignment with the necessities of local firms in South Florida.
What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship?
The most memorable experience for me was having the opportunity to plan and participate in several Public Outreach Workshops with the communities of Brickell, Downtown and Omni, along with other professionals, government authorities and community leaders during the development of a project to connect, protect and activate the Downtown Miami waterfront.
What did you like most about your experience?
I will always remember the social, professional and academic challenges that I have faced during these two semesters and how they contributed to my holistic understanding of the landscape architecture profession.
What did you learn about yourself?
I challenged my ability to navigate the professional world in a second language, to understand the world in a different metric system, to fit in a multicultural team and an environment with a high demand for teamwork and I proved myself capable and successful.
How did you expand your professional network?
The firm’s principals have given me the opportunity to coordinate directly with allied architecture and engineering firms, providers and contractors as well as governmental entities. At the same time, they have encouraged me to meet with clients, attend events such as the ASLA Florida Chapter 2018 annual conference and even provided me the platform to participate in the Southeast Florida Resilience Accelerator Workshop, representing the firm on the Brickell Bay Drive project team. All of these experiences have allowed me to meet very interesting people, learning how to navigate the circles I will soon be a part of upon graduation.