Summer Intern Project

The Urban Arena EXPERIENCE ! 

Hello, it’s Abby and Christina here! We are UA’s two interns representing the Orange County Office. Beginning June 26th, we began an 8 week experience that gave a taste of what UA is all about and introduced us to all the people that make it as great as it seems. Bryce Sigourney was the lucky employee that acted as my (Abby’s) architecture mentor, and Tim Sullivan had the pleasure of mentoring me, Christina. The four of us did not know where we would end up at the end of our 8-week journey, although that did not stop us from jumping in head first. The neat thing about not knowing what we would do and what we would learn is that we were given the unique opportunity to create our goals and choose where we wanted to focus our time, whether it was working on a 3D model for Bryce, finishing a CAD drawing with Tim, working with clients, or spending time sketching out design ideas. We each met with our mentor early on to decide what we wanted to gain most during our time at Urban Arena.

For me, Abby, I wanted to understand the different parts in a project and the roles that individuals take on to create a successful project. I was also eager to develop the skills it took to create a project, Lastly, I was interested to learn more about how the firm is run on the business side of things too! Throughout the summer I felt my goals were considered and I was invested in. By consistently talking with Bryce and Richard, I was introduced to how a project was started and learned about all the nuts and bolts (literally and figuratively) that are required to finish residential and mixed-use projects. They both had me work on some design, code research, and plan check corrections to expose me to everything in the process. In addition, I got to talk with Michael to hear his story on how Urban Arena came to be and his take on how to successfully run a business. He stressed how important it is to be a part of a team. All of this carried through as we began our intern project. My ideas felt valued and my role on the team was effective. The interns from all three offices were able to design a parklet for Urban Arena’s Orange County office. With our strength working as a team and by implementing UA’s motto of “No idea is a bad idea,” we were able to design a space for UA employees to gather outside, eat lunch, and of course play with Ace. Our vision for this project is that it not only gets built but makes an even more enjoyable work experience for the UA family.

As for me, Christina, I was mostly interested in grasping a better understanding of the diverse roles within an office, learning what the professional world entails, and eventually finding a path to pursue as a career. Having various passions in vastly different areas is typically a whirlwind of crazy, but Urban Arena was able to channel my technical interests with that of my artistic interests. From creating renderings to researching plants, I was able to help in different tasks around the office with different employees (shout out to @timsullivan @austinprice and @jackiecase for allowing me to partake in a variety of UA projects). Through them, I was able to see how complex and uniquely crafted each project is. Having briefly exercised a multitude of tasks within the company was extremely beneficial in regards to the final Intern Project (and much much more). This project reflected the typical design process of Urban Arena that I was able to become a part of this summer. The interns took the project step by step and along the way we became good friends! There’s another refreshing thing about Urban Arena, your co-workers are your friends! Shout-out to @abbyburdick @brandonramos @rubenrodriguez and @thomasdouglass for making such a great team. I’m so happy I am able to take all these different skills, new people, and positive energy back with me to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for my final years of schooling.

With both our experiences, we would like to share something we both took away from our time here. More than the AutoCad skills we could ever learn or city codes we could ever study, we learned and saw how people can be happy at a company and how co-workers becomes family. This is truly a unique environment, and we are honored to have been a part of it this summer!

Thank you UA!

Thomas Douglass
tdouglass@urbanarena.com
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