S ’18: The Internship

S ’18: The Internship

Pamela Narisma

About the Author:

Pamela is an architecture student at Cal Poly Pomona who will be entering a study abroad program in Italy for her fourth year. During her time in the University, she has developed a passion for green design and becoming a leader in her community. She will be completing her minor degree in Regenerative Studies, has held positions in the AIAS E-board, and is currently a member of the Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society. In her spare time, she likes to frequent book stores and coffee shops, care for her cats, and photograph places she has traveled.


I had no idea what working for Urban Arena would be like. The eight-week program was a decent timeframe to get used to how the architecture firm worked, but I wasn’t expecting to have received an internship experience that was above and beyond with what I had expected.

In the beginning, I was immediately thrown into work. I was given the Viking’s Sports Facility project in Michigan to start off with along with my mentors, Bryce Sigourney and Tim Sullivan. My main objective was to take the drawings that civil engineers had of the site and create an updated site plan in which I was to place parking lots onto a sloped site overlooking a lake whilst also making sure that the buildings that will be built will be placed in a safety zones. This was a daunting task; it took me a couple of weeks (and plenty of revisions) in order to get it all right. Having Bryce and Tim help me with getting used to working on AutoCAD again (I haven’t touched that software since I was a freshman) was a huge help. In the end, my work was critical in letting the clients know what they were allowed to work with. I now understand way more than I need to about x-Refs, conservation and easement lines, city codes, and about laying out parking lots!

In between the Viking’s Project, I got a chance to recreate 3D models of the Fontana Landing housing project utilizing SketchUp. In school, I’ve primarily worked on modeling programs such as: Rhino3D, Revit, and even AutoCAD. Learning SketchUp was fun; Bryce would teach me useful commands and the next thing I knew, I was creating houses. This was wonderful for me because I have always wanted to try this out, but didn’t get a chance to while I was in school. All in all, I’ve learned that being flexible with the computer programs you use is key in becoming a good student and future architect. It allows you to be able to be of use in a wide variety of tasks without being stuck as a one-trick pony.

Lastly, I helped our Creative Director, Jackie Case, on renders with the South Coast Central project. With Michael’s notes and Jackie’s guidance, I created my take on what the UA experience would be like for pedestrians in this area.

Urban Arena is really centered on making sure that everyone in the firm works like a fully functioning orchestra – a little chaotic at times, but always in sync and always set to produce an amazing piece of work at the end of each of project deadline. I am glad that I chose to be part of this family; I loved coming into the office and have always felt glad to have helped someone out with an important job.

Thank for having me, UA family. It has been amazing!

Elia Osorno
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