A View to a Career: Job Shadow Day at VLK

Mentorship has always been a large part of my life; I’ve always found joy in helping others achieve their goals. As my career has progressed, teaching the next generation of designers has been one of my favorite experiences. I find it refreshing to hear the new perspectives and passions of these designers. So, I was thrilled to be a part of this year’s Job Shadow Day.

Over the years, VLK has been proud to participate in Klein ISD’s efforts to connect students with professionals. This year, our team hosted eight students from Klein Collins High School who aspire to work in the architecture and design industry. At VLK, we see the immense value mentorship has not only within our firm but in our communities. When the students first arrived, I was honored to welcome these students along with my colleague Audrey Cooper, Emerging Professional. We started the day off with a general overview of the various pathways to a career in architecture, providing the students with critical resources from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), American Institute of Architects (AIA), and National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

After our morning discussions, the students moved through the office to learn more about individual career paths and gain insight into what a day in architecture looks like. Through the rotations, students were able to interact with 12 VLK team members, each with different positions and skillsets. To conclude Job Shadow Day, the students attended a presentation further explaining the job roles that make up our firm followed by an opportunity for students to ask questions. “I’m very grateful that I came and learned everything I did,” said one sophomore student. “It was extremely helpful and really showed me what path I’m wanting to take in the future.”

Reading through the notes left by the students, it was clear they left with a clearer understanding of the industry and what it takes to have a career in architecture. Whether it was giving these aspiring students details about accreditations, or simply sharing insights into the daily life at an architecture firm, it was a wonderful day of connecting with the students and perhaps providing inspiration for their own career goals.