This is my last official blog post of my 13-week internship with the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and Latino Heritage Internship Program. I have been an intern of the National Park Service, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, Hispanic Access Foundation, and Latino Heritage Internship Program. Many different agencies and individuals have made this internship possible for me, and I am so greatly and deeply appreciative of them. I’ll address several individuals at the end as this blog post covers a variety of topics – from my tasks this week, my favorite memories from the summer, what I’ve learned and am taking away from my experiences, and where my adventures will take me next. Before I go in-depth about these topics, I think it is important to acknowledge that the featured image for this blog post is in fact real and not photoshopped at all. The image was taken as Ella, Jenna, Angelina, and I made our entrance as the four Designing the Parks interns for our first day in June with a perfectly-timed jump, which I guess subsequently trigged a spontaneous explosion. Without dwelling too long on the veracity of that previous statement, let’s delve into this blog post!
My main tasks for my last week at the OCLP have been to work on photo simulations and maps of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site (SPAR) in Springfield, Massachusetts. A photo simulation demonstrates the current existing conditions of a site in contrast to rendered images that show architectural and/or landscape architectural designed changes for the site. Sasha Bachier, my predecessor at the OCLP and LHIP, created several awesome photo simulations for the maintenance yard at SPAR. My tasks this week have been to make several changes to these photo simulations based on feedback the OCLP received from SPAR after Sasha had left. I’ve really enjoyed editing these photo simulations in addition to making one completely new one as photo simulations demonstrate the capabilities of the creative design process. Visual imagery is so important in demonstrating the potential for change, and photo simulations can depict so many minor or major changes that significantly influence how an individual thinks about the space and the site. Several examples of changes I made in the photo simulations are 1). replacing the L-shaped with a four-bay building, 2). replacing the building’s red paint with a rust-brown color, and 3). incorporating shrubbery and evergreen trees. Additionally, we needed a new photo simulation for different positioning of the building, so I created a new version from a different vantage point and angle. Just as important as creating these photo simulations for SPAR is accurately saving them in the correct folders so that future interns can edit them or create new photo simulations once SPAR gives its feedback to the OCLP.
It’s difficult to define favorite memories from my internship from early June to early September now. There are definitely certain experiences and activities, however, that stand out from this internship. Firstly, we visited the Cape Cod National Seashore in mid-June for our second week of the internship. I’ve described this experience extensively throughout the blog as we did site visits to the 11 mid-century-modern residences to do research, mapping, and site investigations of the residential landscapes for the Cultural Landscape Report. Visiting CACO during our second week definitely helped us bond as an OCLP crew, and I think it would’ve also been special to have gone later on in the internship as we knew one another better. But regardless of visiting CACO in June vs. August, I think it’s pretty special to say that we got to work for a week in Cape Cod in the summer and got the VIP treatment by staying at the Coast Guard National Beach Station. Secondly, we had two celebrations for Margie’s 25 years with the OCLP as she began her new role with the Minute Man National Historical Park this summer. We had an in-office celebration in mid-July and we had a formal celebration in late August for Margie, and the sense of community that she has fostered over the years really shown through to me as being quite special. Having just graduated from college in May and really beginning my career, it is definitely my goal to foster the same sense of community and atmosphere within my profession. Thirdly, the National Park Service Centennial was a literal once-in-a-lifetime event that occurred this summer. I really enjoyed being part of the NPS’ 100 year celebration since the 1916 founding by Congress as we ran an OCLP tent to discuss with visitors about our work and what we do within parks. Fourthly, I participated in the Latino Heritage Internship conference in Denver, Colorado from August 10th – 13th. I had an awesome time meeting the Hispanic Access Foundation staff members, my representatives Jessica and Rodrigo, and the other LHIP interns from across the country. There was so much scheduled for us to learn about LHIP, about other interns’ experiences, what’s like to work and how to apply to work within the federal government, and how our internship roles are instrumental in helping Latinx communities as a whole. I came away from this conference with an understanding that this LHIP family deeply cares about one another’s experiences, is willing to helping in any way possible, and is deeply committed to making the best programs possible for its members and the entire Latinx communities that they serve. Lastly, it is important for me to address that these different experiences are just some of the highlights of this summer. The OCLP kept us four DTP interns quite busy with office work and site visits, so I have an extensive array of stories I could address here, but these four examples demonstrate how great it has been to intern with the OCLP and LHIP this summer.
I came into the OCLP with a deep interest in architecture, and I feel that I have extended my interest in design to landscape architecture as well. Preservation is integral to the design process as related to understanding the history of the site and how this history informs the future maintenance or design of the site. I really enjoy thinking about how building structures interact with their landscapes from a design, preservation, and urban planning standpoint, and I definitely think I will be exploring these fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning as I continue on in my professional career. I have enjoyed working for the government (and will continue to do so), and I have learned that I would also like *at some point in the future* to experience what it is like to work in a commercial design firm. This will give me an understanding of what it is like to work for a private company and, along with my current work for the government, will inform me of the direction I would like to focus on in design, architecture, and planning for graduate school when I apply in the future.
I have also come to deeply value the supportive, creative, and collaborative atmosphere at the OCLP. Many of my working friends tell me that the office environment and atmosphere is one of the most important aspects of your job, and I definitely see how that can be true through the awesome atmosphere we have here. I understand that firms and companies come in a wide range of sizes, and I know that I want to seek out and help foster this type of environment for the future places in which I work. In addition to what I’ve learned as an intern this summer, I feel that that I’ve brought good energy, humor, and responsibility to the work I’ve done, and I hope that the OCLP and LHIP feel the same way. It is a key professional goal of mine to do work at a level beyond what is expected while keeping an upbeat, humorous attitude within the work environment around me. I’ve had numerous responsibilities and tasks this summer as related to Cape Cod, other OCLP projects, and the LHIP conference in Colorado. I’ve deeply expanded my knowledge in research, analysis, and design as related to landscapes, preservation, and resource management, and I will continue to be learning and contributing with my next position. I came into the OCLP office with experience using ArcGIS and the Adobe Creative Suite, and I have enhanced my skills in both programs in addition to learning and becoming proficient at AutoCAD, which I consider to be a huge success.
For the last part of my blog post, I would like to give my thanks to several colleagues and fellow interns. Firstly, I want to thank my supervisors Bob, Margie, Chris, and Eliot for selecting me as a DTP intern in coordination with the LHIP/HAF. I’ve had such an enriching experience this summer learning about landscape architecture, preservation, and design, and I deeply appreciate all the support, organization, and responsibility given to each intern at the State Street office in Boston. This crew, along with the other OCLP colleagues, does great work and have a fun time doing it, and Bob and Margie have made my next internship possible. Secondly, I want to thank Maite and Liz at the Hispanic Access Foundation for selecting me as an LHIP/HAF intern in coordination with the OCLP. The Hispanic Access Foundation is such an organized, efficient, and educational program that each internship of the 26 total LHIP/HAF interns such an enriching experience. I loved getting to meet you both at the LHIP conference in Colorado, and your constant support and communication has made my next internship possible. Thirdly, I want to thank Rodrigo and Jessica at the HAF for organizing so many LHIP webinars and activities for us interns and for being so communicative whenever we needed assistance. They juggled so many different tasks to make our internships the awesome experiences that they were. Fourthly, I want to thank the other OCLP interns Ella, Jenna, and Angelina for being the best Designing The Parks group in the history of the OCLP. We did awesome work, had fun doing it, and I’m going to miss working with you all in the office and on site visits. Fourthly, I want to thank the other LHIP interns for the community and comradery fostered over this summer. Most of our interactions before Colorado we over webinars, and I felt the group really came together as a family during our four days together. Lastly, I want to thank Vida Germano for selecting me as an intern of the Pacific West Regional Office and allowing my time with the NPS to continue. I’m super excited to start with my new position, and I’ll describe this in the last section below.
The next steps I’m taking after this summer internship are possible because of the OCLP and HAF. Beginning in mid-October, I will be moving to the East Bay and working in downtown San Francisco with the Pacific West Regional Office of the National Park Service. It’s my understanding that I’ll be working on Lists of Classified Structures (LCS) and Cultural Landscape Inventories (CLI) for various western national parks along with NPS social media, site visits, and any other tasks in which I’ll be able to assist. My short term and long term goals at this moment are simply to see where working with the NPS in San Francisco takes me. As I’ve mentioned, I’m interested in working for a commercial design firm at some point in the future, but for now I really enjoy the work I do with the National Park Service and government. I anticipate that I will go to a graduate program sometime within the foreseeable future, so I am trying to use all my experiences to assess what type of program best suits my personal and professional interests. I do know for sure at this moment, though, that I am super pumped to begin working on the West Coast with the awesome NPS team out there, and I hope to find a way to keep you updated about what my experiences. I would love to stay in touch with anyone reading this blog, so if you think I’m remotely cool in the slightest, you can:
-connect with me on LinkedIn to stay professional, or
-check out the personal cat blog that Ella and I co-created to stay entertained, or
-friend me on Goodreads to stay in discussion of books and literature, or
And with that, my 13 weeks has come to end. I’ll miss everyone I’ve worked with. Please do keep in touch.