Exploring a Career in Architecture: A Student’s Perspective

We believe design can build a better future and the next generation of students will be the architects tasked with designing our beloved communities. Therefore, we prioritize regularly hosting students into our office to gain exposure and explore a career in architecture. Adam Hatter is a local high school student from Eastern Mennonite School who recently took advantage of a career shadowing experience with our team. He shared a few thoughts on his experience learning about our industry and the career path of an architect.

From Adam Hatter:

This year I am exploring a career in architecture as part of the Eastern Mennonite School job shadow program. This innovative program at my high school allows students to partner with area businesses to spend time in their offices (or other workplaces) to help them decide on a career path. I have not figured out my path yet so I thought this would be a great opportunity to explore some options. I am job shadowing at the Gaines Group Architect’s office located in the historic Chesapeake Wester Depot in Harrisonburg three days a week.

Adam joined Charles and Trevor on a site visit to a custom home designed by our team on Afton Mountain.

This experience with Charles is the first time I have tried to branch out and learn more about any possible careers for myself. I hadn’t really thought about architecture a lot before talking with Chance Church this past summer about it. He and I played basketball together at EMS and he is now studying architecture at Virginia Tech. We were having a conversation about my interests in a college major next year, and I asked him about architecture because it sounded pretty interesting.

One of Adam’s projects while in the office was to design a single story house and floor plan using our design software SketchUp.

During my time job shadowing so far, I have had a really good time learning more about what it is that Charles does as an architect. He has helped me understand more about architecture school and the different paths to take after high school if I decide to go into this profession. I have learned more about building structures and how to think like an architect whenever I see a new house even just driving down the street. This job shadow experience has given me insight into a professional office and allowed me to explore one career path. I encourage everyone to find a job shadowing option before graduating high school, whether you are unsure of your career path or have one interest that you are almost certain you want to do. Without learning what the job actually entails, there is no way to judge if you are actually interested in it. I am still undecided on my major for next year, but now I at least have a good idea of what architecture is like, as opposed to knowing nothing about it only a few months ago. I am grateful for my school for creating this opportunity for me and know it will help me make career decisions in the future.

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