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!
Learn more about CannonDesign Life >
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.
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 – two engineers, Becca McGowan and Dan Buccini, 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.
Learn more about CannonDesign Life >