Mentoring future architects

For the fifth straight year, HERA participated in the Rockwood School District’s Partners in Education Project Interface program, which pairs students with business professionals in the student’s area of interest. The professionals mentor the rising seniors for seven weeks to help give the students a sense of the industry.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the program mostly continued as a virtual internship for Marquette High School students Lylian Martinez and Mason Kellerman.

During their internship, HERA and the students worked together in several areas:

  • Holding a design charrette to help develop critical thinking skills in architecture and planning.
  • Meeting virtually as well as weekly in person meetings.
  • Interviewing staff members about subjects ranging from programming, space planning and test fits.

Mason’s project was a water quality testing lab in East St. Louis. Mason’s design goal was to create a safe and functional lab space that is sustainable and enhances employee wellness.

Lylian’s project was an addition to the Saint Louis Science Center that will allow for testing, design and fabrication of prototypes. Lylian’s design goal was to create a flexible lab space that incorporated science on display and included both indoor and outdoor work areas.

In their own words, here’s what the students learned this summer:


“My internship with HERA has done much more than just teach me the basics of architecture. Thanks to Rachel, Ken, Jinhee and Eva, I have been exposed to the culture of architecture and everything that is involved in the career beyond simple drafting. I have learned about the importance of communication, a skill that will be helpful regardless of the career path I end up taking, as well as manners of presenting and selling an idea. This opportunity has changed the way I view the career as a whole.”


“I’ve improved my professionalism in a way I wasn’t expecting. I think there is a healthy casualness in the collaboration of the workplace. It’s important to do good work, but also make the people around you feel welcome. I’ve also learned to tame my perfectionist tendencies with time restrictions. Work in architecture is constantly edited, so it’s important to not get too attached to designs and be flexible with new opinions.”

Congratulations Mason and Lylian and thank you for spending your summer with us!

Project Interface 2021 Project Interface 2021