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a recap of TBG’s 2021 intern week


Following recruiting season, TBG was able to secure 13 student interns from ten notable universities across the nation! With some having been a part of the firm for months and others having just begun, everyone was included and participated in this year’s Intern Week. This year’s recap is written by McCall Graf, TBG’s first marketing intern. She has summarized the week through her eyes from an insider perspective with firsthand experience.

Intern Week looked quite different this year, much to the delight of TBGers far and wide after holding the event online last year to ensure the safety and health of employees. Interns from all offices joined the Dallas team for Intern Week 2021, all while following COVID-19 safety protocols.

This year, our class of interns were challenged to create a master plan of their own for a confidential site in North Texas. Included was a charrette to help problem-solve and work through it all. Additionally, the interns were able to experience the life of a professional landscape architect throughout the week, and perhaps, get a glimpse into their future.

TBG Interns – Class of 2021

Margaret Morse – Purdue University
Denise Martinez – Louisiana State University
Joseph Jennings – University of Iowa
McCall Graf – Texas A&M University
Anna Rader – Kansas State University (joined after Intern Week)

Kyle Trautmann – Michigan State University
Taylor Lasorsa – Louisiana State University
Avery Smothermon – Southern Methodist University
Sharni Smith – University of Michigan

Elizabeth Franks – Kansas State University
Jingxi Peng – Texas A&M University
Jessica Kleinschmit – University of Nebraska Lincoln

San Antonio
Madison Stout – UT San Antonio

Day One in the Dallas office launched with a warm welcome and introductions, then a presentation about the site—and updated headshots, of course. The presentation gave interns an idea of what they’d be seeing and analyzing the next day at the site visit, and it demonstrated the intimate relationship TBG has forged with the site’s community.

After the first full day at the office, the interns enjoyed a celebratory dinner where TBGers were able to conversate and get to know each other, all the while indulging in pizza, pasta, prosciutto, and other delectable Italian dishes.

Day Two kicked off with Taco Deli breakfast tacos, or breakfast burritos, depending on who you’re talking to. Interns headed to the site and were given a presentation that was followed by a thorough tour of the area, in which notes were taken and questions asked to assist interns in their site analysis. Back at the office and split into three groups, interns worked together to create a design of their own and came together in the end to take the best parts of each.

Interns were further split into groups to focus on circulation, precedent/site characterization, base mapping, and conceptual design. Team leaders assisted the interns as needed and taught them TBG’s custom CAD tools along the way. The majority of the day was spent doing analysis and working on concept development. This was all done with the intent to reach a single, final design concept, and the student interns worked late to generate as much headway as possible.

Day Three included presenting to past TBG President, Jim Manskey and TBGer Jordan Clark who offered advice and suggestions. Following the assessment, interns took the panel’s critiques and incorporated them into their edits, working toward a final master plan. Team leaders Ann Podeszwa, Ross Devault, and Robert Acuña-Pilgrim were available as helping hands the entire week, and they encouraged the team to keep up their good work.

Despite the intense workload and long days, the Dallas office’s acclaimed “Intern Alley” was full of laughter and conversation. Interns worked collectively and often bounced from group to group to help where needed. Despite the large size of the team, creating a master plan in three days presented a challenge for any level of landscape architect; but the talented interns prevailed and welcomed the challenge with open arms.

On the hectic fourth and final day of Intern Week, interns worked together to finish up the Master Plan before the clock struck 3:00pm. When the time came, members from the Dallas office watched in-person, while over 100 TBGers participated through a video call. This year’s intern class was ultimately praised for their presentation and master plan—a true testament to the quality standard of TBG.

Last but certainly not least, goodbyes were exchanged, and this year’s intern class headed back to their home bases feeling more knowledgeable, experienced, and confident in their roles at TBG for the remainder of their internships. As a brand-new intern, I’m very grateful for my week in Dallas and for the opportunity to better understand the company I work for, as well as what landscape architecture is all about. Below is a statement I wrote at the end of the week.

“Throughout the course of Intern Week, something became overwhelmingly clear to each intern: TBG is a company that cares. It is a company who cares about the quality of their work as well as the community impact. In an industry like landscape architecture, it’d be effortless for a firm to not consider the repercussions of their actions. It takes significantly more exertion to think about the user and their experience, the environmental and personal impact a space can have on the community and land, than it would to just get the job done and call it a day.”

This sentiment is one we strive to make known to every client and member our firm works with. TBG is one firm with many voices, and we cherish each opportunity to come together with others.