Name: Celine Mazhar
Hometown: Amman, Jordan
Where did you intern? What did you do there?
I interned at Arquitectonica this summer. I worked on two interesting projects. They were each at different phases, so I was able to learn various aspects of design and development.
How did you get your internship?
I always felt that Arquitectonica was the place to work if I was going to live in Miami. The School of Architecture Career Fair allowed me to network with multiple firms. I met an architect who was recruiting for Arquitectonica. I gave him my portfolio and a leave-behind and later received an email expressing the firm’s interest! During this time, I was awaiting an acceptance response from Harvard, but I was interested in a summer internship before I moved.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process?
I interviewed with multiple firms, but the energy felt right with Arquitectonica. I loved the firm’s goals and aspirations, the office and the energy that the people had! I felt that all of those things matched with my personal career goals. My advice would be to always remember that this is a two-way street. Not only do you have to sell your case, but they also have to earn your interest! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want if you believe that you deserve it!
What projects did you work on?
I mainly worked on two projects. Initially, I worked on a mixed-use high-rise which was in the schematic design phase. I was able to make design decisions, which was probably the coolest part. The second project I worked on was of a much larger scale. It was a two-tower high-rise: a hotel tower and a residential tower. This project was already in the construction documents phase. Because of the scale of the project, I was given responsibility across multiple realms. I regularly joined calls with the client, interior design team, mechanical, electronic and plumbing teams and the structural team to coordinate tasks within each of our scopes.
How did your internship connect back to your coursework?
Although the difference between school and work tends to be a reality check in the world of architecture, the reason I fell in love with Arquitectonica’s office is that they encourage creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Also, one of the biggest things that school taught me was how to work as a team. I learned the importance of communicating and collaborating with your team in the workplace – otherwise, nothing can get done! Even being up-to-date with emails that aren’t in your scope of work is important. You have to know everything that is going on!
What was the coolest thing about your internship?
I enjoyed the second project the most. I think the coolest thing about the internship was that I was not treated as an intern. I was assigned tasks that had a weight of responsibility, and my leads were always encouraging me to seek that. I also took sole charge of aspects of the project – mainly the residential unit and hotel suite layouts, so I was constantly on calls and emails with the interior design team. This task concluded with construction documents for each of the units and suites.
What did you like most about your experience?
The office was exceptional, and it was an honor to be a part of it. I admire the way their office works, the projects that are created, and the people who put it all together. It was amazing to be able to observe and learn from such an outstanding firm.
Everyone that I crossed paths with constantly made me feel welcomed and made sure that I was enjoying the work!
Even though I am going to Harvard next, Arquitectonica is a firm that I would love to work for in the future. The projects that they create are out-of-this-world and exceptional every single time.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that the best work experiences are not those that merely teach you architecture, but those that make you grow as a person. It was the first time I worked for a large firm, which, I learned, is how I want to start my career.
I also learned that I work well with a team and that I enjoy entering uncharted territories. It was a shock to learn how easy it was for me to bridge academia with the real-world. I love being given a lot of responsibilities, and that allowed me to grow exponentially within these few months.
How did the position increase your professional confidence?
Since I was assigned to work on a variety of tasks solo, I developed confidence in making decisions and suggesting my recommendations. The position gave me the confidence to trust my instincts.
I learned that asking the right questions allows you to evaluate the project’s needs and its potential.
How did you expand your professional network?
Arquitectonica has people with a diversity of career goals. As someone still young in my career, I’m very interested in learning about people’s paths to be better informed about the possibilities that could be out there for me. I always want to be open to unexpected opportunities. Something that I like to say is that your dreams are found outside of your comfort zone.
Additionally, I was able to network with people from outside of the firm who were also on our projects. Working as a team isn’t only about getting the work done, but also forming great relationships!
How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?”
This internship helped me prove myself in ways that I didn’t even expect! My leads were constantly praising my ability to take charge of the unfamiliar and familiarize myself with it quickly.
The responsibility to make these projects come to life is what allowed me to prove myself in the real-world.