2023 Summer Interns Share Their Experience
Aug 24 2023
Each summer, MHAworks welcomes architectural and interior design interns to provide them with exposure to the commercial A/E/C industry and gain better insight into the working world. This past summer, we took on three interior design interns in each of our offices. As summer comes to a close, we asked each of our interns to share their experience working at MHAworks and their advice for future interns.
Our Summer 2023 Interns
1. Why did you choose to intern at MHAworks?
Ali: I chose to intern at MHAworks’ Asheville location because it was a good opportunity for me to learn and grow as a designer. I also enjoyed the encouraging and positive work environment.
Janet: Prior to choosing an internship, I had quite a list of criteria in mind for where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. Things on that list included going out of state, shadowing licensed interior designers, and most importantly getting an in-person glimpse or chance to be hands on with projects. When I came across the intern position at MHAworks, I was very pleased with the website, the application process, and my interviews with MHAworks. Choosing MHAworks was the best choice for me because of those things.
Rachel: MHAworks has a great reputation and many notable projects in the Greenville area. I decided it would be a great company to complete an internship with and learn hands-on how interior design works alongside architectural design.
2. What has been the most important lesson you have learned through your internship at MHAworks?
Ali: My internship at MHAworks has taught me a lot, but the most important lesson I have learned is the importance of building and maintaining professional connections.
Janet: An important lesson I’ve learned during my internship is that nearly anything is subject to change. You may know what you’re going to do one day, but by the end of that day you may be doing something you hadn’t planned to do at all. To handle changes, you need to be somewhere between flexible, but still able to get things done on time.
Rachel: The biggest lesson I have learned is that you have to be able to multi-task on a daily basis and be a problem solver. The ability to pivot and find a solution when problems come up during a project is essential to its success.
3. How has your internship with MHAworks aided in your professional development?
Ali: This internship has expanded my knowledge of the industry and given me firsthand experience in my desired profession.
Janet: Between attending meetings, going on multiple site visits, and actively designing with a diverse team of architects and interior designers, my experience at MHAworks has broadened my thinking and knowledge about how to get projects off the ground and to completion.
Rachel: You can only learn so much as a student sitting in a classroom, so being given the opportunity to experience how things work in a professional setting has taught me a lot. I know that this is a valuable experience I will be able to use moving forward as I finish school and enter the professional design industry.
4. What was your favorite project you worked on this summer and why?
Ali: It’s hard for me to choose one project that was my favorite because I enjoyed being a part of all of them. I enjoyed helping on site-measuring, creating mood boards for upcoming projects, and working closely with the architects in Revit.
Janet: My favorite project came at the tail end of my internship right after our office moved to its new location. In mid-July, I was given some borrowed construction documents dating back to 1938 for the Broughton Avery Hospital built in 1877 in Morganton, NC. MHAworks, to my knowledge, is the first firm to model the building in Revit. My hand in the project was placing the interior walls, doors, windows, and roofs of the building into the model. It’s been quite a puzzle given that most of the old dimensions have a +/- after them on the blueprints and the building has been renovated over the years in some places. I’ve enjoyed every bit of modeling the hospital. Two MHAworks professionals and I visited the hospital to evaluate the condition of the building. I did get the opportunity to check my work in the field. The hospital was rightfully listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It’s an amazing building with so much history and it would be great to see the building fully operational again one day.
Rachel: My favorite project that I have gotten to help with so far, was a feasibility study for an academic building at East Carolina University’s campus. Being a part of the client interaction in the early phases of a project was very eye-opening and a great experience. I learned about the importance of listening to your client and finding out what their desired outcome is for the end-user.
5. What advice do you have for future interns?
Ali: I would advise future interns to be curious and honest about what they do not know. You will not learn if you don’t ask questions.
Janet: My advice would be to create new goals throughout your internship or try to think of what other things you’d like to experience because in my case my goals were met early on. This internship was one that kept on giving and the team at MHAworks is great! Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions because there are many things you would never know unless you asked.
Rachel: Soak up as much information as possible from your mentors and ask lots of questions! They have a wealth of knowledge and their experience offers a great perspective.