How my university studies have helped me on my internship & thank you to my university for partnering with the Saltire Scholars Programme’

How my studies have helped.

In terms of my experience at University and how my studies have helped me, I actually have mixed feelings.

I study Architectural Technology at University which is the discipline of bridging the gap between architectural theory and construction practice. And when I first discovered my internship which is relatable to my degree, I got excited, not only did it fit perfectly with what I was studying it aligned with my interests and ambitions for when leaving University. So before even undertaking my placement my course played a massive part in pursuing the internship. I think this is maybe an overlooked aspect, if it wasn’t for interest in the field which my course has given me I wouldn’t have had the motivation but also the confidence to apply.

During the internship itself, I utilised many aspects from my time at university to help me. The self-discipline and independent study which is a skill I have developed throughout my university.  When researching here in Spokane, combined with my report writing experience through University it has been invaluable. Of course, additionally, with my studies and this internship being within the same industry, it has been fundamental. Firstly, for my motivation, being on an internship which I know will directly help me massively not just for my last year but when I leave University, it has gave me that further incentive to learn more. Also the core principles I have learnt about the built environment have helped in various situations from researching to engaging in conversation with students but also interviews with architects and professors which has been the cornerstone of my learning experience here.  

Since starting my internship I have developed a better understanding of the move towards digitisation in the Architecture Industry and realised that the WSU architecture students have a very extensive knowledge of design software. At one stage during my internship there was discussions with myself and the Architect Studio about creating an detailed Revit model of one their projects, on one hand I relished this challenge as it’s something I enjoy doing, however I felt completely out my depth as 3D modelling is an area I don’t have much experience in from university. As a result I had to teach myself through YouTube videos. I believe the university curriculum would benefit from a bigger emphasis on teaching 3D modelling software, discussions about modern methods of construction as well as new technologies and progressive materials such as mass timber. 3D modelling software is the future of the construction industry, additionally, at a time when the construction industry faces immense pressure to change and modernise due to his inefficiencies and its significant contribution towards climate change. 

Having said that, it has given me the opportunity to fully emerge myself in this experience and to learn as much as I can. I also believe this experience has installed in me a new way of learning, coming here with little to no knowledge apart from the research I had done prior to applying. It has It has forced me look outwards and given me the realisation there so many avenues to explore when studying or researching.

Thanks to my University

First and foremost I would have to give a thanks to Maureen Ronaldson, School placement coordinator at my University, as if it wasn’t for here I would not even be aware of this amazing opportunity. Which seems ridiculous now thinking that, one single casual meeting looking for just work during the summer led to a once in a lifetime experience.  Maureen also took a lot of her time to look over my CV’s and covering letter which I’m incredibly grateful of. Jon Stinson, one of my lecturers as well as former beX scholar Lee Charnley helped me with my application, so I would like to thank them also.

The beX programme which is based at my University and partners with Saltire is an incredible platform that I’m honoured to be involved with and I owe a massive thanks to the team there, especially Robert Hairstans, whom without my internship would not be possible. The Built Environment exchange connects with universities across the world, particularly in the United States, with the aim of collaborating and knowledge sharing to spark change in the construction industry. The beX programme gives students the opportunity to undertake innovative internships, which will inspire them to shape a sustainable industry within the future. Being on this internship has really opened my eyes and has ignited an interest in this field and without the beX programme I would not have the optimism going into industry as well as having the ambition to make a difference when leaving University.

I have taken a lot of confidence from the faith beX and Saltire haven put in me to represent them during this internship, which is invaluable.  It is my hope I can give my time and help to others looking to undertake this programme in the future, just like others have given to me as I know it will be an amazing opportunity for anyone.