Fort Worth to Mars - Western Hills' Career Day

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VLK Architects was honored to participate in the very successful career day at Fort Worth ISD'sWestern Hills Elementary School. Josh Wilson and I represented VLK in Western Hills' largest eventwhich included 75-80 professionals. This day provides a wonderful opportunity for professionals tointroduce students to a variety of careers by providing an interactive activity for students relateto each of their fields.

For our activity, we lead Western Hills' fourth and fifth grade students in designing and building acity on Mars. We encouraged them to use their imagination and think of types of buildings andamenities that would be needed to sustain life. Imaginations grew until we had a bustling citythat included aveterinarian clinic, the White House, a history museum, and a ballpark. We gavethe class an end goal to attach a building of any sort to Mars. The activity allowed students towork individually and in teams while creating their buildings which allowed them to explore andlearn various working styles.Some students jumped right in while others thought-out their designscarefully. Everyone participated. We enjoyed seeing the proud smiles and enthusiasm asstudents saw their creations contribute to the growing city.

Career days give the students an opportunity to expose them to a variety of skills associatedwith correlating fields. In our activity specifically, teamwork, creativity, critical thinking, andcommunication were just a few of the skills required to build our Mars community. Our hope, andone of the manyreasons we enjoyed participating in the career day, is that early exposure tovarious career fields will help plant a seed of imagination in students' minds as they develop theirown career goals and dreams.

I had the best time working with the students and seeing them run with the activity. With aninterest in community service and working with students, I thought 'Sure, I would love toparticipate. How great would it be to experience first-hand the school environment that wehelp design every day' Little did I know how their creativity and teamwork would exceed myexpectations. I was truly encouraged to see these students help each other finish within theallotted 30-minute time frame. As we headed back to the office, Josh and I recalled the types ofbuildings the students designed. Some of the createdbuildings could be found in their existingcommunity or close by; some could have been from places they have visited; others could havebeen inspired by the media. We realized that perspective is influenced by the environment andexperiences we are exposed to throughout our lives. It is my hopethat through this activity, wewere able to ignite a passion for architecture in these students that will impact the future ofdesign.