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Going Virtual: 2020 Internship Program Three Week Recap

Amy Starling Rampy

As the first six months of 2020 created uncharted territory amid COVID-19, we made the decision to transition our summer internship program to a virtual experience. The 9-week program kicked-off on June 1 and over the past three weeks, our interns have been busy learning about all things TBG.

In Week One we focused on the mechanics of a design firm, going beyond the typical Professional Practice course, providing a peek behind the scenes at the core business at TBG. In addition to learning about roles and responsibilities within in each of our firmwide teams – Marketing, People Operations, Technology and Accounting – our eight interns met face to face with TBG’s Presidents (both present and past) to learn about the firm’s History, Purpose and Values.

Starting with Project Kickoff and Discovery in Week Two, momentum has continued to increase week to week as interns focus on the creative process within the framework of a dynamic Lecture Series and intense Design Studio. Three times a week internal experts present content that aligns with weekly themes. When we’re not doing that, design leaders facilitate a series of design “sprints” that build on lecture series concepts.

Compared to a traditional internship, the virtual program provides our interns with a much broader range of knowledge, mentorship and experience, as well as, a wider view of our project portfolio. Through case studies, lessons learned, demonstrations of design principles, and collaborative design challenges everyone is learning how to focus on project priorities and better communicate design ideas.

While the chances of success were unknown at the start, support from every person across the firm has allowed us to lean in to the second half of our 9-week program as the topics dive deeper into the technical aspects of landscape architecture and planning. Our interns have already impressed us with their enthusiastic collaboration, insightful questions and passion for making the earth a more memorable place, renewing hope for the future of the profession. We are excited to see what the next six weeks hold.

We asked our interns to reflect on some of their lessons learned so far. Here is what they had to say.