Externships in Retrospect: Madeleine Ghillany-Lehar
The Office of Professional Development and Career Services at Weitzman coordinates an annual externship program for students in architecture, city planning, and landscape architecture; for the 2020-2021 Academic Year, externships were scheduled for January and March. Madeleine Ghillany Lehar is a Master of Landscape Architecture student completing her second year of the 3-year program. She recently participated in a virtual externship program with renowned landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations.
What was your goal in joining the externship program?
As someone who had a career in a different field before studying design, it’s important for me to get a sense of how a design practice differs from the offices I worked in prior to coming to school. I was mainly hoping to hear from practicing landscape architects about their non-pandemic office experiences, and how that has shifted during the past year. I was also hoping to get some feedback on my portfolio and a sense for the kinds of projects that people work on day-to-day.
What aspect of the experience did you like best?
Everyone at Field Operations was incredibly welcoming and open, and I loved getting a taste of how the office operates during remote work. The hosts made a point of going beyond active projects to share how they plan, communicate, and engage with each other digitally. Even though the externship was short, I felt I got a clear sense of the company culture. I also loved seeing a range of project types and aspects of work in a landscape office, from choosing project management methods to recent competition work.
What was the best Zoom background you saw during your externship?
I didn't see anything too crazy, but I always love it when you can see people’s houseplants in their background. I saw a lot of happy plants!