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OZ Architecture Lays a Foundation for the Future Through Summer Internships

July 31, 2019

OZ Architecture has a long history of hosting students from local architectural programs for internship experiences. We feel that it lays a solid foundation for the future of our industry, both at OZ and beyond.

These experiences offer countless benefits for the students and the company. For the student, internships provide real-life experience outside the classroom. This includes collaboration with consultants and team members as part of every design project, and experience at firms with different cultures to help them in selecting a firm to work at in the future. For OZ, internships provide opportunities to brush up on the new technologies being taught in schools and for younger design staff to gain valuable leadership experience. Best of all, we get to meet the best and brightest students before they go looking for full-time jobs.

At OZ, we have formalized the internship program and expanded our reach to schools across the country. Our primary goals for the Summer Internship Program are:

  • To provide valuable real-life job experience for the student
  • To learn new innovative technologies and techniques being taught in schools
  • To get to know potential candidates for longer-term employment prior to their graduation

For the students, the OZ Architecture internship experience includes the following:

  • Mentorship: OZ provides summer interns the chance to partner with an unbiased mentor to discuss their internship experience and goals, issues with their project teams and other professional questions.
  • Goal Setting: Every summer intern sets at least three goals for their internship term before they begin. These goals are used to help identify teams and projects that they work on, tasks that they complete and additional program opportunities at OZ during the summer.
  • Programs: Beyond project work, summer interns may have questions about business development, marketing, sustainability and other professional practices. We make a conscious effort to review each intern’s goals to determine what programs to offer. We often include site visits so that interns can see real, built examples of what they are drawing in the computer. Then, we discuss the impact of drawn-to-constructed elements. Upon hearing positive feedback about these programs, we’ve started to invite employees with less than two years of experience to join in these valuable experiences.
  • Public Speaking: We offer opportunities for interns to share their interests with the office through the practice of public speaking before larger groups in the office.

We’ve already hosted — and hired! — several incredible young people through our internship program. Here’s what they have to say:

Nicole Jackson, Summer Intern 2019

I chose OZ for an internship because of OZ’s strong focus on ingenuity and creativity within their design process. I chose to take part in this internship to help push myself and develop my skills as a designer. This internship has prepared me for working after school by challenging and building upon my skills learned at CSU’s design program.

John Coats, Summer Intern 2019

I have worked for five separate architecture firms during my schooling and OZ Architecture is the only firm I have wanted to revisit after working for prior. OZ has successfully given me the knowledge, experience and opportunities I expect out of an internship, as well a company culture that is so uncommon to find. At the end of the day the people of OZ Architecture and the accumulation of all their expertise and personalities are what make this company so enjoyable to work for and it is what brought me back a second time.

Kyle Greenhill, Summer Intern 2019

I decided to intern at OZ because I thought the culture, process and types of projects here fit me and my future career goals the best. Through interning at OZ I’ve gained more knowledge and experience into preparing presentation graphics for clients, rendering techniques, improved proficiency in Revit and other design-oriented software. Interning at OZ has helped better prepare me for working after school by the experience of a collaborative design environment, acquiring more proficiency in design-oriented software and exposure to intern workshops focused on site visits, practice management, marketing and sustainability.

Grant Johnson, Summer Intern 2018, now OZ Staff

Becoming a successful young architect involves much more than just acquiring technical skills, it means understanding how to utilize the resources and people surrounding you to improve your knowledge on a daily basis. I was drawn to OZ due to the firms open and collaborative culture. Through my internship at OZ I was able to develop many personal relationships with mentors and peers who I felt comfortable approaching which provided invaluable insight into the field and the way firms operate.

Quincy Gill, Summer Intern 2018, now OZ Staff

I was really attracted to OZ because of the diverse number of projects as well as the culture. Knowing that OZ had marketing, architecture, design, branding, etc. under one roof was very impressive to me. I was sold on OZ when I saw the “OZ Dogs” on the website! My internship helped me understand real-world design. In school, we often get to make the “coolest” designs without a client or budget. I like having the real-world pressure when I design and OZ taught me how to problem solve as well as gave me the tools to be more efficient with my production. My internship truly set me up for success for after school and set me apart from my peers.

Jillian Pate, Summer Intern 2018, now OZ Staff

More than anything, what I was looking for in an internship was a way to test out firms I thought I might like to work at in the long term. I chose OZ because of their reputation within Colorado, their portfolio of work, their size, how long they have been a firm and what they stated their values and mission as a firm was. My internship at OZ provided me a great opportunity to learn from and speak with people across the firm whom I would not have otherwise. It provided an authentic networking opportunity, allowed the people at OZ to see how I work and learn about me as well. Ultimately it led to the opportunity for a full-time job here, one I am very proud to have had.

Surgene Troost, Summer Intern, now working elsewhere

While at OZ I had the opportunity to work on some fantastic projects, improve my Revit modeling abilities and see first-hand all of the complexities of real projects. However, what made the greatest impression on me was the company culture. Whether it was the kickball league, bike to work day or Friday happy hours there was always something happening that brought people together and created a great place to work. Additionally, the mentorship program offered a great opportunity for me to continually ask questions and learn as much as I could, which ended up being extremely valuable when I returned to grad school.

We’re excited to continue the OZ internship program into the future. To learn more, please email Chris Vandall at cvandall@ozarch.com.

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