Architecture students shadow experts

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Project Manager Raul Garcia mentors architecture students at this college during shadow day, Oct. 5 at Regency Elementary’s construction site. Jason Durant

A Job Shadow Day gave architecture students an opportunity to visit firms to see career firsthand.

By Jason Durant

Forty-six students in the architecture program at this college were assigned to 20 firms Oct. 5 to shadow experts and gain perspective in the careers they are pursuing.

They can spend up to 12 hours a day on campus in the classroom, sketching, making calculations, scaling and putting small project blue-prints to action.

Once a year, however, the annual job Shadow Day gives them the chance to go out into the real world and act as an intern for one day to see what it’s like working on large-scale projects, according to the flyer for the event.

Architecture Coordinator Dwayne Bohuslov coordinated the event.

Throughout the day, students followed closely behind mentors and looked over projects.

They were free to ask as many questions as they needed with the mentors’ undivided attention.

One of the firms that participated in the event, O’Connell Robertson, has been given the opportunity to design and oversee an additional building for Regency Place Elementary School in North East Independent School District.

“The project is about 65 percent through, but we are still are in the midst of the work going on,” Chris Narendorf, principal of the firm, said. “A lot of the walls and roofs are done, but windows, finishes, ceilings and systems are all still very much in progress.”

He and Raul Garcia, project manager, gave the students a tour of the site at 2650 Bitters Road.

“We’re excited to be able to bring SAC students to the construction site to see what architecture and engineering looks like as it’s being constructed,” he said.

The way this project began was through a bond voted in November 2016 that provided $17 million. The project began in October 2017.

The building will include a new library, extra classrooms, a computer lab, and a new space for the Assisted Learning Environment students, such as special education and students with disabilities according to NEISD’s website.

While touring the site, Narendorf forewarned students that while constructing a building, the architects must plan ahead for what is commonly referred to as “the 100 year flood,” he said.

While the likelihood of a big flood in San Antonio is low, a smart architect prepares for it regardless, he said..

After the shadowing, which took an roughly an hour, students at this college gave their testimonies in the Fiesta Room in Loftin Student Center with their respective mentors.

Architecture sophomore Sebastian Lopez said, “It is very important to implicate teamwork, communication and the skills we learn back at the campus once we land these jobs,”

Architecture sophomore Lucio Chavez gave his input about what was beneficial about this opportunity.

“It was helpful being able to actually see a structure with your own eyes and being explained what the materials are and the difference in buildings demanding what certain materials would be required,” he said.

Architecture sophomore Austin Hahn said the experience confirmed his confidence that he is pursuing the right major.

“It’s important to be exposed to stuff outside of your career path because you don’t always get to see everything that’s possible out there,” he said.

Chavez expressed his gratitude to Bohuslov for the chance he was given to get that hands-on activity.

“It’s a unique experience because sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting into,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity. Currently it’s us, but next year and the few years after that, it will be future students shadowing us, so I hope this event continues.”

Bohuslov said the architecture program at this college is about is community.

“The fact that I’ve given these students first-hand exposure, whether it’s a small or big firm, engineering or architecture, it’s helping them grasp the concept that they’re ultimately servicing the community as stewards for society,” he said.

“If a city needs a church, a school, a prison, they look to architects.”


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