GuernseyTingle enjoyed having AJ (Ananth Jayaraj) intern with us this summer before beginning his 4th year at Virginia Tech in the Architectural Design Program. Each year, our firm offers college students internship opportunities during the summer months, and many have chosen to return during the holidays. As a part of this program, interns get a chance to shadow project managers during project kickoffs, site visits, and client visits, extending their knowledge and experience in the design and construction industry. Over the years, we have hosted many exceptional interns. AJ was no exception, as he was a referral from a former GuernseyTingle intern and classmate at Virginia Tech.
We asked AJ about his experience as an intern and how he hopes to apply what he’s learned moving forward:
Did Your Internship Program Meet Your Expectations?
This internship has exceeded my expectations in many ways. The exposure I’ve had to real architectural projects has shown me the limitless possibilities within this career. Allowing me to be deeply involved in these projects has taught me many things outside of school, such as interacting with clients, contractors, visiting sites for inspection, and estimating costs for building materials. I am very grateful for being able to learn with a firm that shares its responsibilities with me.
How would you describe your internship experience?
My internship experience has been very positive and enlightening. I’ve gained insight into my career with the help of my colleagues, allowing me to gain proficiency with the tools of the trade thanks to the opportunities I’ve received here.
How would you describe our company culture?
The best word I could think of to describe this firm’s atmosphere would be “nurturing,” “empowering” would be a close second. My colleagues, who have been very patient with me, have aided me through my first experience in this career with grace, answering all my questions and providing plenty of opportunities to broaden my knowledge.
What have you learned through this experience? How do you think it’s going to affect your future decisions about your education or career?
I’ve learned a lot about my interests within the field and my strengths and weaknesses. Going forward, I plan to bolster my knowledge in design details, materials, and architectural practice while improving my drafting software and program planning skills.
If you could make any changes to your internship, what would it be? (If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?)
If I had to change my internship experience, I would honestly raid the chocolate bowl less often. On a more serious note, I am very satisfied with my experience. Still, I would like to learn more about the quality control process behind design documentation. I’m very interested in learning more about building construction and how construction documents come together to form a cohesive package for clients, contractors, and engineers to understand.
What was the most memorable/exciting moment or event during the internship?
The most memorable and exciting moments within this internship have definitely been the site visits and office parties. I have learned so much about the practice through these site visits and so much about the firm in their after-work Stressbusters.
What advice would you give to an architecture school student looking for an internship?
I would suggest that they keep their eyes and ears open, as there is a great deal to learn and find in a firm willing to involve them in their projects.