Architecture Career Expo Unites Students with Industry Professionals

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Student and job recruiter having a conversation at the Architecture Career Expo

The School of Architecture and Community Design held its 2017 Career Expo at the Marshall Student Center on Friday.

The event was a chance for architecture students to interact with architecture and design professionals with the hopes of gaining internships and jobs.

"It's huge to have that intimate, one-on-one exposure to these firms," said Ryan Hughes, academic advisor at the School of Architecture and Community Design.

There are some students who got jobs at last year's career fair and are now back to recruit their fellow peers, said Hughes.
The event is the third of its kind to be held at USF. This year's expo attracted 12 architectural firms – the greatest amount to ever be featured at the event – including HKS Architects, Long & Associates Architects Engineers Inc., TMPartners, Gresham Smith and Partners, HOK, and more.

To prepare for the big day, students received assistance in creating their resumes from a collaborative workshop by USF Career Services and the School of Architecture and Community Design.

Jorgelina Moretta, an upcoming graduate of the Master of Architecture program, attended the workshop in preparation for the job fair. She continued to shape her resume with the collaboration of her peers in order to be well-prepared for the event.

For Moretta, a key takeaway from the Career Expo was having the opportunity to speak with representatives of the architectural firm Gresham, Smith and Partners.

"I was excited to talk to them," said Moretta. "I like their environment that they have in the office, and I got to talk to them and it was exactly what I was expecting."

Now that she has attended the expo, Moretta feels more comfortable with her ability to interact with industry professionals.

"I feel I was more prepared than I had thought," said Moretta.

Stephen Sewar is another upcoming graduate who feels more prepared to enter the workforce.

"This experience has made me a little bit more comfortable," said Sewar, "to kind of ease some of my anxiety with the whole job search process and moving forward."

Through the Career Expo, Sewar learned the specifics of what an architectural job fair entails. This job fair differs from a typical job fair in that participants are required to not only interact with representatives and pass out resumes but also to share their portfolios upon request, said Sewar.

Preparing graduates for life after graduation is important at the School of Architecture and Community Design, and the school employs a number of methods for readying students.

Students travel every semester, engage with guest architects in an active lecture series, have their works judged in professional and peer-reviewed juries, and interact with visiting architects in a rich and communal learning environment. Through this curriculum, students learn a wide range of skills to apply to their careers.

"They have a good sense of how the discipline fundamentally works," said Robert MacLeod, director of the School of Architecture and Community Design, "and I think they are beginning to realize the possibilities they have within the discipline of architecture."

The great potential of USF architecture graduates is what gets the attention of firms.

Brittany Baldwin, an Architectural Associate at Behar + Peteranecz Architecture who graduated from USF last year, attended the Career Expo with her firm. She knows why USF students are so highly sought by employers.

Their grasp of both creativity and practical design concepts are what make USF architecture graduates unique, said Baldwin.

"USF has really figured out how to teach students [creative design] and make them really great at that but then also bringing it back to the reality of what life is and what you're actually going to be designing in the real world," she said.

Nathan Butler, vice president at HKS Architects, is another professional who came to USF to recruit. He looks for individuals who have a solid foundation of skills and the potential to grow in an accomplished global firm of more than 1400 employees.

"If you come out of school with certain tools that you develop as an individual," said Butler, "and they are supported by great facilities, great staff, and great mentoring ... the rest of it will build on it."

Students left the expo with real connections to industry professionals and an increased awareness of the field of architecture. These graduates are prepared for the challenges of the workforce and are ready to be the designers of tomorrow.

"The strength of this program and the caliber of the students that I see here absolutely measures up," said Butler. "I think it's a really bright future for the program here and it's something that faculty and alumni can be proud of, students can be proud of, and more than that, our profession and the state can be proud of, too."