University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

Preparing for the Future: Career Expo

Recently, 14 architectural firms gathered at the Marshall Student Center for the fourth annual School of Architecture and Community Design Career Expo. These nationally and internationally recognized companies have offices both in and beyond the Bay area, and in many world-wide locations including Tokyo, Denver, Dubai, Atlanta, Dublin, Vancouver, New York, and Sao Paulo, among many others.

This year’s list of attendees included: HKS Architects; Perkins & Will; Solstice Planning and Architecture; The Beck Group; Corgan; ArchitecturePlus International (api+); The Perry Company; EMPAD Architecture + Design; Furr, Wegman & Banks; Behar Peterancz Architecture|Interiors; TMPartners; Osborn Engineering; Wolf Partners; and Williamson Design Associates.

Architect representatives from the Straughn Trout company shake hands with a student

The event provided USF architecture students and graduates the chance to network, practice their elevator speeches, and interview with potential employers for full-time job opportunities as well as summer internships. Students engaged with professionals in an open and relaxed setting and found that the experience gave them the valuable opportunity to practice interacting with firms before going on professional interview.

The ongoing relationship with these organizations is also critically important to the school. According to Bob MacLeod, Director of USF’s School of Architecture & Community Design, “this continued exchange is extremely important for our students because these firms also participate in critiques and thesis reviews—which is vital for students’ progress. And, many of these organizations also contribute financially to support student success.”

For TMPartners, it was their fourth time returning to the event. With offices in Sarasota and Nashville, the firm specializes in diverse array of building types in healthcare, government, (public safety, civic, education, aviation), higher education, and commercial office. They continue to participate in the annual expo because they see the architecture program at USF as a “known product” where there’s a great work ethic, ambitious students with well-developed design and technical skills, and a deep interest in the complexity of the profession.

The alumni hired by these firms continue to maintain strong connections with the school and often lead or participate in recruiting students for employment at their organizations. As alums, they are able to offer valuable insight into students’ work in portfolios and provide guidance on how the transition from graduate school to working in the profession takes place. These first jobs are so important because they enable students to fulfill the requirements for internship and gain exposure to different points of progress enroute to taking the exam for licensure.