Rising senior Alondra Loya ’24 was selected amongst many applicants for a week-long shadowing program with the prestigious architecture firm Able City in McAllen.
The paid internship aims to give students a chance to gain industry work experience and nurture an early passion for the built environment and community-driven design. Read about Alondra’s experience in her own words below.
Q: In your own words, can you describe the program for readers?
A: The Summer Discovery Program at Able City has given me a great learning experience. I was surrounded by very welcoming and hardworking architects. I shadowed two architects located in McAllen, Texas. During my time there, I attended meetings, learned about different colleges with architecture accreditation, got introduced to the basics of architecture and the programs used, and explored ways I could contribute in the future to achieving carbon neutrality with the 2030 challenge.
Q: How did you get into architecture? What about it interests you?
A: My interest in architecture began in my engineering class. We had a project that involved designing a tower to meet customer needs and preferences while drawing inspiration from real-life buildings. This experience ignited my fascination with how spaces can influence gatherings and impact a person's emotions, ultimately creating a positive synergy among them.
Q: What was it like shadowing people at a real firm?
A: Shadowing professionals at a real firm was enlightening. There truly is no better learning experience than this. I discovered how each team member brings something unique to the table and how they all collaborate effectively. Everyone has their own function, whether it be sustainability, urbanism, or city planning, and all these functions are essential and interconnected.
Q: What did you learn?
A: During my time at this firm, I acquired so much knowledge. One crucial aspect I learned about is the different architecture programs offered by colleges: Professional Programs (5 years) and Pre-Professional Programs (6 years). It is essential to ensure that your chosen program is accredited to become a licensed architect. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of this and end up wasting both time and money. Moreover, I realized that architecture involves much more than merely constructing buildings. Able City taught me their motto, emphasizing the importance of creating walkable, bike-able, and sustainable areas, ensuring that buildings are interconnected and contribute positively to their surroundings.
Q: Did it solidify your interest and is this something you would like to study after you graduate high school?
A: This experience has undoubtedly solidified and intensified my interest in architecture. I am sincerely grateful to Able City for providing me with this incredible and rare opportunity.