Students: Get Ahead Of The Curve

intern tour of construction site- SOM Moscone Center.jpg

Previously, we introduced Rachel Hunt – a student of interior architecture and industrial design, and creative director at vCAD since the launch in 2016. This summer she parlayed her experience into an internship at the prestigious SOM design firm in San Francisco.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP is one of the largest and most influential architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world – completing over 10,000 projects in over 50 countries. How exciting for Rachel to be immersed in that environment all summer!

Now that summer is winding down, we seized the opportunity to connect with Rachel and learn more. We were curious how the internship went, what she learned, and how vCAD was integrated in the experience. What she has to say is beneficial for any student trying to navigate their next steps in the professional world and utilize new technology!

What are you doing at your current internship?

I am working with the interiors department this summer. I have worked on various projects to get them ready for construction, so I’ve been doing construction documents in Revit. I have done a good amount of graphics work in relation to project proposals as well as a presentation series that the firmwide interiors team did.

I have also been on the same project since my first day, so I’ve gotten to see how projects are started, what the process is, how they set up Revit models, and how to work collaboratively within a Revit model. I have also done different studies to see how the existing space is being used, where the pain points are, what’s working and what’s not.

What did you hope to achieve there?

Coming out of the internship, I want to know how an interiors team works in the environment of a larger design firm. I want to see and learn how people from different teams work together on all levels – from planning to structural to architecture to interior to graphics. I also just want to get to know the people that have been doing this their whole lives, and learn what they love and hate about it.

What are your next steps?

Well, I’m headed back to UT to finish off my last year of school. During the school year I will continue working at vCAD and continue to push what we do to the next level.

How does vCAD tie into your current internship work?

Communication between the firm and clients is one of the most important things. Often times the intents of the design gets lost when trying to convey it to the client. As designers, we do as much as we can. But no matter how you frame a 2D image, it does not compare to the real 3D thing. Virtual reality, and specifically vCAD, has the opportunity to be that missing link between the client and the designer.

Advice for students in the industry or field of study?

It seemed like before, in order to succeed you had to know everything about a specific area and be very specialized. Now I sense a shift away from that. It’s best to have a variety of talents and knowledge to apply to projects. It’s valuable to be versatile in any work setting. Graphics, design work, software, problem solving – the more skills the better. Having a range of skill sets to combine in different ways and apply to different projects is ideal.

For students, I highly recommend that even after you pick a field, continue to explore a variety of things that interest you. Don’t be afraid to take classes or accept a job not completely related to that area. You need to accept newness, take chances, and try things you were previously unable to do. This really helps you understand different people, roles, and fields.

In your opinion, how is vCAD a game changer?

Mobility is one of the biggest things. SOM has VR, but it’s tethered to a laptop and other equipment. It’s such a hassle! You need to have an IT person on-hand to set up and run the program. vCAD is the best from a usability aspect – anyone can use it, it’s easy to share, you only need a mobile phone, and it’s so simple to interact with clients as you just send them model options to explore on own.

How does vCAD help students such as yourself?

It’s so easy as it involves using a device that we are on constantly – the mobile phone – which transforms to a tool for the work we are doing. You can walk through project when interviewing, presenting school projects, etc. It’s all about the quickness. The quick conversion from CAD model to interactive design is so helpful under time crunches for architecture and design students.

We really appreciate Rachel sharing the details of her internship with fellow students. It’s a great example of how you can apply your experience and knowledge from the classroom to projects and opportunities in the “real world”.

It’s also fantastic to hear how vCAD can be integrated into and help so many situations in work and school. We invite you to try vCAD and share your experience and feedback!

intern walking tour- SOM with Micheal Duncan.jpg

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