Mentorship in a virtual world

HERA again 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.

This year’s program was unprecedented for multiple reasons. For the first time, HERA hosted two interns rather than one. Also for the first time, the entire internship was accomplished virtually because of coronavirus.

Claire Buchheit is a rising senior at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, MO and Justin Stange is a rising senior at Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, MO. Both are interested in lab design and architecture as a future profession.

HERA Lab Planner Rachel Updegrove mentored Claire and Justin during their time with the firm. In addition, Principal Ken Mohr taught them the basics of programming, Lab Designer Jinhee Lee introduced space planning and Lab Architect Monica Moore-Zigo explained test fits. Rachel helped the interns apply this knowledge to redesign the Kansas City Water Treatment Plant Lab, a current HERA project.

Goals for the water treatment plant project include providing room for more employees and improving overall building circulation. The building also must accommodate COVID-19 protocols such as allowing for social distancing, decreasing traffic congestion and encouraging hand washing.

Claire and Justin created floor plans to fulfill these wide-ranging requirements. On their final day, they presented (remotely) their design solutions to the HERA staff.

You can read more about Rockwood’s Partners in Education Project Interface project here.

More coverage of Claire and Justin’s summer internship.