Intern to Intern: Part 3

  • September 12, 2018
  • Author: Rachael Ruhland

As summer break drew to a close, our interns were hard at work putting the finishing touches on the various projects they’ve been involved with throughout their time with us. CannonDesign had close to 45 interns this summer, and as a MarCom intern in our Buffalo office, I had the unique opportunity to interview many of them about their internship experience as part of the Intern to Intern series. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 to hear more of their stories!

Name: Nicole Sarwono
Office: Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign
School: CalPoly, San Luis Obispo
Discipline: Architecture

A native of Seattle, Nicole Sarwano has been taking full advantage of the Los Angeles sun as an Architecture Intern at the Yazdani Studio. Though her interest in architecture began after attending summer camp in high school, her studies at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo helped her fall fully in love with design and eventually led her to the Yazdani Studio. Nicole is a naturally creative person – she designs sets in her spare time (her favorite being one she created for Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”) – and was wholly impressed by the innovation that regularly emerges from the Yazdani Studio. Lucky for her, she was given the chance to become a part of the Yazdani team. As this summer’s intern, she feels as though she had the opportunity to fully connect with the studio’s design process and is thankful to have met such an inspiring and supportive group of people (special shout-out to: Ben Juckes, Michel Chabaneix, Keshav Ramaswami, Mimi Lam, and Nadine Quirmbach). Despite the many skills she has gained, Nicole believes that her biggest takeaway from this internship has been getting to know the people she’s met here and would like to thank everyone in the office for a great summer!

Name: Thong Luc
Office: San Francisco
School: Academy of Art University
Discipline: Interior Design

Growing up, Thong lived with his family in a one-room apartment and spent his days dreaming of the many ways he would redesign the space if he had the chance. As he grew, he decided to turn these dreams into a career path. A native of Vietnam, Thong’s passion led him to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where he is in his final year of studying interior architecture. He was initially drawn to CannonDesign for its blending of interior and exterior design and is happy to have the chance to see this process in practice as an interior design intern in our San Francisco office. In addition to his internship, Thong works as a freelance photographer for various magazines, including Vogue Italia and Hypebeast Magazine. What he appreciates most about design and photography is the opportunity to communicate without words, as his shy nature often makes it difficult for him to connect with people. Lucky for him, the San Francisco office has a weekly happy hour where Thong enjoys friendly chats with his colleagues.

Name: Drishti Shah
Office: Irvine
School: Virginia Tech
Discipline: Architecture

At 26 years old, Drishti is ready to finish school and join the workforce full-time. She is in her final year of her Master’s in Architecture program at Virginia Tech, and is spending her summer working as an Architecture Intern in our Irvine office. Her interest in architecture began as a child when she spent on-site visits with her father, who was an engineer at the time. Growing up, looking at buildings gave her passion but working for a firm has guided her professional interests and allowed her to fully understand the American perspective/approach to architecture. A native of Mumbai, India, Drishti has been enjoying the American workplace while also taking full advantage of the many coastal opportunities Irvine has to offer this summer. In her last few weeks as an intern, be sure to ask her about her newfound surfing skills!

Name: Bradley Cochran
Office: Chicago
School: Purdue
Discipline: Electrical Engineering

In addition to working as an Electrical Engineering Intern in our Chicago office, Bradley Cochran is a full-time student at Purdue University, part-time electrician, and father to a seven-month-old son. As he approaches the start of his senior year, he is incredibly thankful for his time at CannonDesign as it has allowed him to decide that after graduation he would like to work as a field engineer. Bradley suspected that he would be most attracted to field work (his interest in electrical engineering came from years of doing electrical work with his father), but in learning how design engineers in construction operate, his interests were “cemented.” Free time is anything but abundant in Bradley’s life as an intern, college student, and young father, so he appreciates his summer internship for not only the work experience and knowledge he gained, but also the social environment it gave him. The Chicago office may or may not have a highly regulated beverage cart that made an appearance on Fridays after 3:30, and Bradley may or may not have had a great time getting to know his coworkers on these days.

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Intern to Intern: Part 2

  • September 7, 2018
  • Author: Rachael Ruhland

As summer break drew to a close, our interns were hard at work putting the finishing touches on the various projects they’ve been involved with throughout their time with us. CannonDesign had close to 45 interns this summer, and as a MarCom intern in our Buffalo office, I had the unique opportunity to interview many of them about their internship experience as part of the Intern to Intern series. Check out Part 1 and Part 3 to hear more of their stories!

Name: Valerie Poutous
Office: Baltimore
School: Virginia Tech
Discipline: Architecture

As her fifth year in an Architecture program at Virginia Tech begins, Valerie admits she is more than ready to start working and get licensed. Her summer as an Architecture Intern in our Baltimore office gave her a teasing taste of what the working world has to offer, and she is now counting down the days until she can work full-time. She began college as an engineering major and says that the multidisciplinary nature of CannonDesign has given her confidence in her decision to pursue a career in architecture, as her work in the office has shown how interconnected the two fields are in practice. Though she is serious about growing her career, Valerie also enjoys taking the time to stay active and social. In-between working on projects, you can find her (along with many other members of our Baltimore office) hitting the softball diamond for a weekly company pickup game. They are admittedly terrible, but the local rivalries (in addition to random trips to the beach) have been the highlight of Valerie’s summer.

Name: Max Davidowitz
Office: Boston 
School: Boston University
Discipline: Mechanical Engineering

As a burgeoning music producer, it is no surprise that what Max Davidowitz values most about his time at CannonDesign is the firm’s ability to meld the creative with the technical. Max is a Mechanical Engineering Intern in our Boston office, and spends his free time creating backing tracks for local artists in Myanmar in coordination with humanitarian and charitable efforts overseas. He wanted an internship that would allow him to combine these creative interests with his engineering background and thought that a design firm would be best suited for his goals. After his experience this summer, he says he “can’t believe how in other firms there are distinct offices for each discipline” as it is the collaborative, multidisciplinary structure of the firm which has taught him the most. Max would like to thank the entire Boston mechanical engineering discipline for being so welcoming and attentive and would also like to give a special shout-out to the construction worker who called him “SpongeBob Skinny Pants” during his first on-site visit.

Name: Jenifer Duong
Office: Washington DC
School: Cornell University
Discipline: Interior Design

Jenifer starts projects and never finishes them — her projects being a (very large) handful of the 1,500+ shows on Netflix, and NOT those assigned to her as an Interior Design Intern in our DC office. Though her television habits say otherwise, her track record as a designer demonstrates a wholehearted commitment to all that she does. As a senior at Cornell studying design and environmental analysis, Jenifer has broken records at school for the longest time in the studio. The time to beat? Seventy-two consecutive hours! Though her time with CannonDesign hasn’t forced her into the studio for half a week (the exception being one fun-filled night making a deadline with her team), the experience she has gained is nothing she could have gotten from the studio at Cornell. A quick glance at her desk may make you think it’s nothing more than an ever-growing pile of samples, but a second look will show Jenifer hard at work creating finish boards and sorting through schedules. Though she appreciates everyone in the office for all their help, she’d like to especially thank Charu Kelkar for all the tips and rides home!

Name: Austin Izzo
Office: Buffalo
School: SUNY Buffalo
Discipline: Sustainability

Austin Izzo is CannonDesign’s first ever Sustainability Intern, and according to Amir Rezaei, we are very lucky to have had him with us in our Buffalo office this summer. At 23, he is about to finish his second degree, a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University at Buffalo – adding to his Associate’s in Automotive Technology from SUNY Canton. Austin’s internship is unique in that his position is directly tied to a CD project – an update to UB’s Integrated Collaborative Energy and Climate Action Plan, which required CannonDesign to hire an intern from UB to work on the project. He had connected with his supervisor (and UB project leader) Amir months before he even began his internship search, during a career fair event at UB, and credits him as the No. 1 reason why he decided he needed to work at the firm. After a summer of doing extensive research and analysis with Amir, Austin feels the same way he did when they first connected and feels comfortable saying that Amir is 100 percent the data geek he claims to be. When he isn’t creating energy models and learning how to quantify and use energy data, you can find Austin building accessible, solar-powered auto-irrigation garden beds for nursing homes with the UB Engineers for a Sustainable World, or biking around the streets of Buffalo on the Midnight Ride.

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Intern to Intern: Part 1

  • September 4, 2018
  • Author: Rachael Ruhland

As summer break drew to a close, our interns were hard at work putting the finishing touches on the various projects they’ve been involved with throughout their time with us. CannonDesign had close to 45 interns this summer, and as a MarCom intern in our Buffalo office, I had the unique opportunity to interview many of them about their internship experience as part of the Intern to Intern series. Check out Part 2 and Part 3 to hear more of their stories!

Name: Cesar Portillo
Office: Houston
School: University of Houston
Discipline: Architecture

Like many of us, Cesar’s favorite part of working at CannonDesign is the endless assortment of Keurig pods. In between coffee breaks, Cesar has been hard at work on RCPs and user markups, while learning the intricacies of healthcare design as an Architecture Intern in our Houston office. Although he isn’t sure of his long-term plans after completing his five-year Bachelor’s in Architecture at the University of Houston, he’d like to earn a master’s degree after graduating to deepen his understanding of design. In-between meeting deadlines and planning, he spent his downtime this summer hanging with friends and fine-tuning his board game skills. These skills came in handy during an employee engagement speed-dating event where he got to (kind of) show off his skills. The event was his second favorite office event this summer – second only to the Community Day t-shirt office design session. Cesar is happy to have had such a positive experience this summer and is doing his very best to try to extend his internship into his fall semester.

Name: Audrey Dittmar
Office: Dallas
School: Texas Tech University
Discipline: Interior Design

According to her mother, Audrey Dittmar has always had “an eye for design.” Though her work as an Interior Design Intern in our Dallas office and as an interior design student at Texas Tech University speak to her talents, Audrey can’t help but credit that comment from her mother with fueling her interest in the design sphere. After spending a few months working on the rebrand of the Dallas office, Audrey is almost finished with phase one and has made progress in changing out signage, repainting and making a few other small changes to the space. The office rebrand is by the far the largest project she’s worked on, but she’s also managed to get heavily involved with a few healthcare projects, too. Since starting at CannonDesign, she has become fascinated with the nuance of designing the interiors of healthcare facilities and hopes to specialize in this area as her career progresses. She is very active in doing charity work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through her sorority (TriDelta), and because of this takes personal investment in the work being done on such projects. In addition to her charitable involvement, Audrey is a big fan of ice cream and is very thankful for the day her office went out for cones together – cake batter has never tasted so sweet!

Name: Scott Wiener
Office: Pittsburgh
School: Syracuse University
Discipline: Mechanical Engineering

Like many college seniors, Scott Wiener has just about had it with school. He’s enjoyed his time studying Mechanical Engineering at Syracuse University, but the end of late nights working on papers and problem sets is calling to him. As a Mechanical Engineering Intern in our Pittsburgh office, Scott has learned that he truly values being in the field and learning as he goes, which has solidified his desire to hold back on a graduate degree until he gets a bit more experience. Throughout the summer he had the unique opportunity to see sites go from bare bones to almost fully constructed, and is in awe of just how many moving parts must come together to pull such a feat off. A few months before applying, Scott was awestruck by the sight of CHUM on a trip to Montreal and made it a priority to look for work at CannonDesign this summer. He’s happy to be in the Pittsburgh office this summer as it is his second time working in the city and is thankful for the many opportunities he has been given!

Name: Sydney Matson-Grimm
Office: St. Louis
School: University of Kansas
Discipline: Architecture

During the week you can find Sydney working on master planning and construction documents in our St. Louis office, but if she’s not in the office, you probably won’t be able to find her. In her spare time, she likes to get out as much as possible and enjoys hiking, biking, and touring as many national parks as possible (her favorite so far is Glacier). She appreciates company on her outings, however, and is grateful to have met so many fellow outdoor lovers who have joined her in rock climbing expeditions and many pickup sports games during her time as a Healthcare Design Intern. Sydney’s internship is part of her co-op at the University of Kansas, where she is about to complete her five-year program in architecture. Her interest in architecture stems from a desire to better the built environment for the people who use it and credits her time at CannonDesign for building her appreciation of the technical aspects that go into healthcare design. In the coming weeks, she hopes to begin working on schematic and design development to round out her experience with the design process.

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Spotlight on Khalid Dyer: Urban Alliance Intern in the Baltimore Office

  • August 7, 2018
  • Author: Rachael Ruhland

It’s only been two months since Khalid Dyer graduated from Patterson High School, but you would never believe this after looking at his resumé. At just 19 years old, Khalid has already completed two internships, is enrolled to start at Hudson County Community College in the fall, and has post-graduation plans to transfer to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Before spending his summer interning in our Baltimore office, Khalid followed the path of most high school students: He had a part-time job, played on the school basketball team, and hung out with friends as much as possible.

All of this changed his senior year when a few members of Urban Alliance (UA) came to speak at his high school and kickstarted his internship journey. Urban Alliance is a D.C.-based nonprofit that provides high school students with paid professional work experience with its partner companies.

This is CannonDesign’s first year as a corporate partner of UA, and we are thankful to Briana Jones for facilitating this arrangement and laying the groundwork for increased involvement in the coming years. Briana served as Khalid’s immediate mentor throughout his internship, alongside Erin Crowley and Ashley Roe; together they created an internship program that Khalid described as not only informative but necessary.

After meeting the team at Urban Alliance, Khalid applied to the program and completed a six-week business skills workshop to prepare for his internship. He was mutually matched with CannonDesign based on his interest in design (he plans on majoring in graphic arts for his first degree and fashion design for his second) and started at the office in July. Throughout his internship, he learned the ins and outs of Revit and SketchUp while making meaningful contributions to multiple Baltimore-based projects. Khalid brainstormed the potential needs of all members of the Baltimore office in drawing up a sitemap for an office relocation planned for the near future, and sat in on many meetings for projects throughout the office. Once, while attending a shortlist interview, Khalid impressed the entire interview team with his depth of knowledge and connections to a few of the project members from a past internship.

Khalid came into his internship unsure of how involved he would be in the design process and how relevant the experience would be to his career goals. At the end of the program, however, he had nothing but positive things to say about his time with the Baltimore team at his UA graduation presentation. Of the 25 members in his UA group, Khalid was one of a proud few who had remained in the program and excelled.

From everyone at the firm: Congratulations, Khalid, and thank you to our Baltimore office for paving the way to what we hope becomes a longstanding tradition of Urban Alliance interns!

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Buffalo Office Continues Tradition of Volunteering at Junior Achievement

  • June 18, 2018
  • Author: Rachael Ruhland

Recently, several CannonDesigners from our Buffalo office volunteered at the Herbert Hoover Elementary School in Kenmore, NY through the Junior Achievement Program of WNY. This is our third year at Hoover, and the volunteer team absolutely outdid themselves in creating an exciting experience for this year’s second graders.

Junior Achievement (JA) aims to prepare young people for the real world by teaching job and money management skills. The program is driven by volunteers and works with children from kindergarten through graduation. JA reaches almost 15,000 students in the Western New York area through specifically crafted programs for each classroom and event. Our Buffalo office is a longtime partner of JA, and over the past eight years has visited various schools throughout the Western New York region. This year, the volunteer team presented a lesson on community, covering topics such as voting, money and taxes.

The team saw the experience as an opportunity to “make a positive impact on the next generation,” said Stacey Stevens, a volunteer. “Having volunteered with the second graders and high school students a few months ago, I could really see the difference I was making in their lives.”

By immersing themselves within Hoover Elementary’s classrooms, our volunteers were able to directly reach the students. This level of community involvement is important to the entire Buffalo office, where CannonDesigners are able to “lead by example and make a difference in the lives of these children,” said Kristen Segarra, another volunteer.

Junior Achievement classroom

Kristen led her class alongside Dianne George – check out this great photo of the two of them after their lesson!

Though the volunteer team may have their tax skills down pat, this lesson on community was important to students and presenters alike. This experience can be as informative as it is rewarding. Working in the K-12 market, volunteering provides CannonDesign employees the unique opportunity to truly be in the spaces they design. Jeremy Dwyer, a seven-year CannonDesign JA team veteran, added that this activity is “an excellent teaching tool for our junior staff.”

However, volunteering with JA isn’t just for the architects and the business-minded. The JA program encourages employees of diverse professional backgrounds, and this year our team included what in past years had been a rarity, multiple engineers, who eagerly joined the volunteer team. JA is typically less STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)focused, but our engineers took this as a challenge. Becca said that although the content isn’t directly STEM-related, t inspiring a kid who may one day want to be an engineer, too, is time well-spent.

Volunteering with the JA program has been a regular part of the Buffalo office’s activities for almost ten years. Taking the time to give back to the local community is very important to our crew here in Buffalo, and we hope that in the coming year our volunteer team will continue to grow.

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