2024 W_Internship Program
Third-Year W_Internship '24
This immersive program holds a special position in cultivating our students' knowledge, skills, and abilities for their forthcoming success.
Moreover, it serves as a means to forge stronger connections between firms and the aspiring professionals who will become part of their teams. Our students eagerly anticipate involvement in project teams, research endeavors, site visits, client meetings, precedent and case studies, as well as participating in the creation of visual materials and design concepts.
In spite of the short period, taking part in the wide range of tasks you manage on a daily basis provides them with insights into the potential career paths available to them.
Click here for a recording of the firm information session.
September 27th - 12:15 to 1:15
Third-Year W_Internship '24 Introduction: Room 300
All third-year students and faculty are invited to join us for an introduction to the 3rd Year W_Internship '24 program. The meeting will be held in room 300.
The W_Internship is a brief, two-week paid internship at a firm from January 2 to January 12, 2024. The introduction will be given by members of the Architect Advisory Board (AAB), Margarita McGrath, CEIP, and former participants of the program.
Following an introduction of the program and process, members of the AAB will discuss best practices for submitting a competitive application (including a resume, a 2-spread mini-portfolio, and a brief 1-page statement of goals and expectations) and for succeeding in the subsequent interview round. Given the scope of the topic and the limited time available, the AAB will hold Zoom "office hours" the following week.
Watch the Zoom recording here.
Virginia Tech has a five-year plan to integrate experiential study into every undergraduate student’s course of study. The School of Architecture’s W_Internships are aimed at providing third-year architecture students with a broad range of short experiences in the profession.
In this second year of the W_Internship program, our goal is to pair 30 to 40 students with 25 to 30 firms. We would like to be able to provide our students with a diverse selection of options, both geographically and in terms of firm size. One of the program's priorities is to fulfill the diverse needs of our students, particularly those who might only be able to intern in their hometowns. Our sister school, the University of Virginia, has a comparable program. These short-term experiences allow our architecture programs to serve the aspirations of students from various backgrounds, including those originating from cities, towns, and rural areas within Virginia, as well as those beyond the state borders and overseas.
In the previous year, nearly thirty firms expressed their interest in joining the W_Internship program. Ultimately, nine students had the opportunity to participate in the pilot program, where they worked with eight different firms across Virginia, Washington DC, and New York City. During the relatively short nine-day internship, students actively engaged in various activities, such as attending project meetings, eagerly conducting site visits, acquiring proficiency in new computer software, and networking with industry professionals. Notably, one student had the unique opportunity to receive a portfolio review from ten members of their hosting firm, including a seasoned marketing professional. It's worth mentioning that some of these students credited this valuable experience as a significant factor in their successful search for a summer internship.
“Over the past several years we’ve hosted both graduates and undergraduates from UVA and found the experience valuable for the students and a wonderful way to connect with future talent for the firm. Ready to participate with project teams, the students have contributed to all phases with research, 3D modeling, presentation graphics, and project documentation while participating in concept charrettes and client workshops. The students are also given the opportunity to present their portfolio or area of focus to the entire firm and are always enthusiastic participants in firm initiatives and events.” David Keith, CEO Hanbury.
Organization and Logistics
Architecture’s W_internship program will be hosted by Virginia Tech’s Career Services. Structured as a collaboration between the Employer, the University, and the Student, the internship experience is set up as an academic course that is offered to a student in the same manner as other university courses. Each participant is responsible for the following:
posting job description with eligibility criteria (see example posting template and youtube Handshake tutorial)
reviewing resumes/conducting interviews
selecting student/tendering offer letters/documenting terms of employment
assisting student with the development of learning objectives
providing supervision & evaluation of performance
preparing students for the workforce via pre-on-boarding professionalism & etiquette training
creating relevant coursework to facilitate educational development
monitoring student progress and addressing any problems or concerns (employer- and/or student-facing)
signing pledge agreement to accept the position and attend the internship (accountability mechanism)
completing pre-on-boarding requirements before commencing the position (mandatory information, orientation, and enrollment sessions)
fulfilling expectations and duties assigned by the employer
completing all course assignments set up in Canvas (student educational platform)
Examples of Student Work
Participating in project teams, conducting research, developing precedent and case studies, and creating drawings, models, graphics, and design concepts (depending on their prior experiences). Meetings, site visits, and exposure to other sectors and operations of your firm are also highly desired by students. Last year's students also noted gains in professional development, such as receiving feedback on their interviews and portfolio, which improved their readiness to secure a summer internship the following year.
Length and Compensation
Over the two-week period, the students are expected to keep a full-time employment schedule (40 hours a week, for a total of 72 hours). Students should be paid an hourly rate or a stipend by for-profit firms for their work. Students may be able to get academic credit in lieu of payment for internships with non-profits and government agencies. We expect that some international students on F-1 Visas may be interested – to be compensated with a stipend, international students will need approval for "Curricular Practical Training" through the Cranwell International Center (a separate university entity from that of Career Services).
The program will be operated through the University Career Services Handshake site. Regarding employer-facing interfaces and student-facing interfaces, Handshake is similar to most other job boards. Position postings will advertise the basic title (W_Internship, so it can be searchable to applicants), location, position description, and desired candidate qualifications (if any). Student profiles will be similar to a resume. Students will also prepare short portfolios (2 spreads, no more than three projects) for the firms to review.
Video tutorial here.
Maria Carvalho Leao from Career Services (CEIP) will be offering an in-person information session for prospective W_Internship participants this Wednesday, October 4th from 12:15 to 1:00 pm. If you can't attend on Wednesday, you can attend one of the regular CEIP sessions.
9/26 - 10/16: Firms post jobs on Handshake
9/26 - 10/16: Postings live for applications
10/11 - 10/25: Firms host interviews
10/25: Firms make offers
10/30: Last day for offers to be accepted
11/2: Firms make second-round offers
11/4: Last day for offers to be accepted
11/8: Program orientation for students in Cowgill 300 from 12:15 to 1:15
Andrew Durfee (questions about Handshake, zoom 6579306559) and Margarita McGrath (program questions, zoom 5402312775) will be holding zoom office hours, please feel free to jump into the zoom rooms at that time to ask any questions you may have.
Q: I went to the Introduction meeting in 300, but missed the registration for the in person and virtual CEIP Information sessions. Are the information sessions required to apply for W_Internship positions on handshake?
A : (from CEIP). Students are welcome to sign up for any information session or orientation session we have scheduled for the fall semester. Students do not need to attend these sessions as a requirement for accepting employment. Both sessions are offered in-person and virtually. Sign-up for CEIP sessions is available on Handshake in Events. I would suggest they go ahead and attend both sessions early in the semester instead of waiting until they have accepted employment.
Q: I was just about to submit my W_Internship applications, and I had a quick question. How many firms would you suggest we submit applications for? There were ten firms I found appealing, but I don't want to waste their time reviewing applications by applying to too many. Do you have any suggestions?
A: We appreciate your professional consideration in terms of the firms. That said, giving them more students to select from will help them find a good fit. Something for you to consider: Ten is quite a lot of interview time for YOU if you are selected for an interview by every firm. We suggest that for this experience, having 2 to 3 interviews would be appropriate (time/outcome ratio).
Q: I just had a couple questions about the portfolio portion for the W_Internship applications. In the list of requirements it says "2 spread short portfolio (select no more than 3 projects)". I'm just a bit confused on the length of the portfolio, is it meant to be only 2 pages? How many pages is too long? Please let me know as soon as you can! Thank you!
A: The guidance is based on previous requirements of the Chicago Studio application to allow students to develop a 2-spread working portfolio that can also be used to apply for 4th-year options. Since a spread is considered two-facing pages, this is four total pages (that can certainly be separated, if you want). Remember that this is a short experience, and we are working hard to refine the expectations to align with the duration. By limiting the portfolio length this sets a common entry point for the students and allows the firms to have a common application to review.
Zoom Office Hours
- Thursday, 21st from noon to 1:30 pm
- Monday September 22th, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
- Friday September 25th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
You may also send an email with subject W_Internship to Andrew Durfee, email@example.com.