CSArch & Engineering Explorations Partnership
Albany High School senior James Doody presents his mock-zoo proposal to a CSArch staffers and students. (Picture taken by Donna Abbott-Vlahos)
Article by Pam Allen, Reporter-The Business Review
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Until he spent his senior year at Albany High School interning at CSArch in Albany, James Doody had only toyed with a career in architecture.
The experience, in which a five-student team of interns developed a mock zoo for Albany’s Corning preserve, convinced the 18-year-old to attend Hudson Valley Community College’s two-year architectural technology program this fall.
After that, he’d like to pursue a four-year degree at Binghamton University or SUNY Delhi, where he would most likely concentrate on architecture and design.
CSArch, with 47 employees at its Albany office and $11.6 million in revenue in 2012 according to The Business Review's most recent list, has been offering high-school intern programs for 22 years.
I spent part of this morning visiting with the five Albany High students and the CSArch employees that make these internship programs happen. Dressed in ties and business-casual, the five-student team of Albany High seniors presented their mock-zoo proposal to a handful of CSArch staffers and nine of their peers. The 14 students are enrolled in Albany High’s Engineering and Exploration Program. The year-long course matches students with intern programs at local companies.
Internships have long been commonplace for college students. Now, as technology requires students to adopt technical skills even earlier, companies are offering those programs to even younger learners.
CSArch is ahead of the curve. The firm has been offering internships to high-schoolers since it was founded in 1991.
Richard Peckham, executive principal of CSArch, says the early, on-the-job experience makes education more meaningful for students.
The company also does a lot of design work for public schools.
“We believe we need to give back to the community, and this is one way to do that,” Peckham said.
Two of CSArch’s senior interns, Elizabeth Brutsch, 25, and Franklin Agyepong, 33, mentor the high-school interns. One student from Tech Valley High School and one student from Shaker High School also interned there this year.
Doody told me the training opened his eyes to what an architect does.
“It was kind of surprising. You expect to jump in and start designing. There was a lot of brainstorming, talking and sketching before we ever got to that,” he said.
This story and others like it will be part of The Business Review’s 2013 Schools Report coming out on June 28. Meanwhile, click here to see how your school measured up in our 2012 Schools Report.