In a series of interviews titled “Intern to Intern,” I am sharing the stories of interns here at CannonDesign. The short stories below are a result of interviews that I have been conducting as a Marketing Communications intern in our Buffalo office. The stories include interns from various CannonDesign offices in the U.S. and Canada. Join me as I learn about the future members of the profession.
Name: Caroline Niederpruem
School: University at Buffalo, Cornell University
Although always interested in art, Caroline did not discover architecture right away. She started off doing set design work and then moved on to sculpture. The satisfaction of having a finished physical object, along with her interest in physics, ultimately led her to architecture. Caroline completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Buffalo with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Minor in Fine Arts where she specialized in mural and sculpture work. She is currently working towards her Master’s degree in Architecture at Cornell University where she has advanced placement in the program. Prior to joining CannonDesign on May 30, Caroline worked on a housing project at a previous internship. Currently, she is working on a physical site model for the Osawatomie State Hospital for the Buffalo office and the VA Mental Health outpatient design guide following a workshop in Washington, DC. Although unsure of what market she would ultimately like to work in, Caroline is currently interested in healthcare. She wants to create structures that can adapt and change to accommodate the fast moving and ever-changing healthcare industry. In addition to healthcare, she hopes to work in a variety of markets to explore her interests. Her favorite project while in school was a studio that focused on symmetry and geometric influences from architect Andrea Palladio where she designed and made models of a research center in Italy that was inspired by The Golden Section.
Name: Rebecca Sturniolo
School: SUNY Buffalo State, Virginia Tech.
Having an architect as a father and going on family vacations often featuring Frank Lloyd Wright works, Becky was introduced to design at a very young age. Although she didn’t love the mundane architecture tours as a child, it would come to play a big role in determining her career path. She was focused on art during her early education and was always searching for an outlet for her artistic ability, which led her to interior design. While working toward her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design at SUNY Buffalo State College, Becky found herself concentrating more on the architectural side of her projects and soon discovered that her next step would be to pursue a Master’s degree in architecture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, which she is currently working towards. One of her favorite projects that she completed at Buffalo State was a redesign and new addition to the Albright Knox Art Gallery. Becky’s studio class worked with the art gallery to determine a plan of action for a future expansion. After giving presentations of her design to the AK staff, winning a few awards for her efforts, and furthering her studies on the subject through a summer-long research project, the Albright Knox ultimately went to architecture firms with ideas that were inspired by students’ projects. This is Becky’s fourth summer interning with CannonDesign, and she has been in both the interior design and architectural departments. She is currently working on a healthcare project which involves turning an office building into a behavioral health facility. She had experience in the healthcare market during her time in the interior design department, but would like to branch out into other markets as well. She enjoys being in a large office which includes multiple market concentrations. When she isn’t working or in studio for school, which is rare, she likes to hike, sketch, and do yoga.
Name: Alexander Siegel
Office: San Francisco
School: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly)
Like many of his fellow contemporaries, Alexander’s favorite toy as a kid was legos. He never thought that little plastic blocks would be a precursor to his future career path. In fact, he never even contemplated becoming an architect until his parents suggested it. Looking back at that moment, it all makes sense since he also always liked math and science. Alexander is currently in his fourth year of a five-year Bachelors of Architecture program at Cal Poly State University. The community/civic market of architecture is something he would like to work in because it would allow him to impact the community and make a big difference in people’s lives. Alexander has a wealth of internship experience as he has interned four previous times at different firms. The first was at a San Jose firm called Aedis Architects that specializes in the education market grades K-12. He got the opportunity at a career fair after the firm had done some work on his high school renovations. He also interned at a construction company called Devcon where he learned estimating and did a lot of sight visiting and observation. Alexander also had an internship with Michael Winstanley Architects and Planners in Alexandria, Virginia. While there, he did some model making and waterfront planning, all while attending afternoon classes at Virginia Tech. Finally, he worked for SmithGroup JJR in the education department and did post-construction-oriented tasks such as post-document evaluation. Since starting at CannonDesign on June 5, Alexander has been working on a healthcare project in New York, coordinating construction documents, learning Revit workflows, and getting used to the SFMO environment. In his free time, he enjoys walking around and taking pictures, playing the guitar and listening to music, and he is actively involved in the AIAS (American Institute of Architects) at school.
Name: James Coday
Office: St. Louis
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Discipline: Structural Engineering
Originally from Kansas City, James attends the Missouri University of Science and Technology where he has completed four years of a five-year dual civil and architectural engineering program. His path toward a career in the engineering/architecture fields started in high school, he always knew he wanted to be an engineer of some kind. Due to the fear of becoming a civil engineer and building roads for his entire career, he picked up architecture for the creativity that it facilitates. Studying engineering and architecture at the same time gives him a working knowledge of how the two work together in tandem. James started at CannonDesign on May 15 and since then he has been heavily involved in many tasks. He has been correcting shop drawings and revising them for future drawing sets, and designing a conduit structure housing the electrical conduits moving from an existing building to a new building. He has also worked on replicating a parking garage design in Revit. He enjoys being surrounded by the people at CannonDesign who create a safe environment and are willing to help and correct mistakes. James is also being asked to perform tasks that he has not been educated on at school, so that creates ample opportunities for him to learn on the fly. He enjoys this because it forces him to learn on his own and look at outside references for help. He is excited to use this knowledge in the classroom and his future career. When James isn’t shaping the built environment, he enjoys exploring the city of St. Louis, trying new restaurants, and reading.
Name: Samantha Seems
Office: Washington, D.C.
School: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly)
As a child, Samantha was fascinated with a set of blueprints her parents had for a remodel of their home, but she was set on pursuing engineering when she began her college career. Her favorite subject throughout school was math, but she would always find a way to sneak in a creative class or two. She describes herself as being a more creative person rather than analytical and currently attends Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she recently finished her fourth year of the five-year undergrad program. This year she studied abroad at Virginia Tech’s Northern campus, the WAAC. She is mainly interested in residential architecture, even though throughout school and her time at Cannon she has had little exposure to the focus. Her favorite school project was an open source learning education project which challenged her to rethink education today and how architecture could affect school collaboration, curriculum and success. She experimented with different classroom layouts that were based on noise level, along with group, pair and individual learning spaces. Samantha started at CannonDesign last September and has worked on a number of higher education projects. They include making 2D physical models to present to clients, which they use to communicate design layouts, and creating variations of design options. She has also had the chance to work on a science and technology lab project for John Hopkins University. For this project, she has done work in Revit which includes changing and verifying furniture types. Something she likes about working at CannonDesign is the way her colleagues trust her to learn the computer programs and work things out on her own. This has helped her become more independent and a better problem solver. She also likes the office culture and how willing her colleagues are to offer guidance and feedback. Outside of the office, Samantha enjoys being outdoors and doing things like running, hiking, playing golf and soccer.