Externships in Retrospect: Lily (Benita) Cheng
The Office of Professional Development and Career Services at Weitzman coordinates an annual externship program for students in architecture and landscape architecture; for the 2020-2021 Academic Year, externships were scheduled for January and March. Lily Cheng is a Master of City Planning student who completed a virtual externship with the Philadelphia-based planning and urban design firm Interface Studio LLC in January of 2021.
What aspect of the experience did you like best?
I liked having a full week immersed in the daily workings of Interface Studios’ (virtual) operations, including having virtual coffee chats with several people in the firm and a virtual happy hour at the end of the week. Also, getting to work on the beginning of a new project.
How was working in an office virtually different from collaborating with your classmates in a studio virtually?
The office has streamlined their process and settled into communication modes and collaborating virtually. Everyone was constantly in touch by email and Google chat and the office is transitioning to [mapping and spatial analytics software] ArcGIS online to streamline their workflow even after COVID-19. I was able to meet with my externship manager each morning and evening via Zoom, and the whole studio reconvened on Zoom at the end of the week for a recap/happy hour which I really enjoyed.
Did the externship program have any impact on the types of offices you are interested in after graduation? If so, how?
Yes, I think I am interested in working in a smaller office setting :)