The SOM Women’s Initiative (SOMWI) hosted its third annual winter internship from January 7–10 for outstanding female students of architecture, engineering, and related fields. Intended to offer critical office exposure and mentorship to women who plan to pursue a career in the design profession, the program gives students the opportunity to spend a week in the SOM office shadowing professionals in a variety of disciplines.
This year, SOMWI welcomed six undergraduate and graduate students to the New York office: Rekha Auguste-Nelson (Harvard University), Monique Bassey (University of Arizona), Robyn Engel (Penn State University), Alexandra Holtzer (Georgia Institute of Technology), Joanna Karaman (University of Pennsylvania), and Shaowen Zhang (Georgia Institute of Technology). The interns were an especially diverse group, with backgrounds in history, mathematics, and international studies, in addition to architecture and landscape architecture.
Students were paired up with multiple mentors and were rotated through departments including architecture, interior design, urban planning, management, marketing, and engineering. From day one, they were able to get a firsthand look at the daily tasks of an SOM design professional, assisting with project assignments and sitting in design charrettes and client meetings. The interns also attended an ARE Workshop Series seminar and a digital design presentation put on by SOMWI, and they had the opportunity to learn more about their mentors’ experiences over lunch throughout the week.
The SOM Women's Initiative was established in 2011 to cultivate and promote the continued development and success of women at SOM and within the design discipline. SOMWI aims to encourage a sense of community and professional support within the firm through various mentoring programs, workshops, and internal networks.