SMMA’s Integrated Internship Program Wraps Up with Final Project Presentations

SMMA 2023 summer internship cohort on a site visit at Andover West Elementary School

Ten interns completed SMMA’s summer-long Integrated Internship Program earlier this month, wrapping up by presenting their final design project to an audience of leaders from SMMA and development firm Berkeley Investments.

The interns were given the complex challenge of evaluating and reimagining an international resort. The team researched existing conditions as well as marketing, cultural, and environmental aspects of the resort. From this research they developed three design options, which were eventually condensed down to a single option.

“The summer project was a very unique learning experience,” said Clare O’Brien, a landscape architecture student at Purdue University and one of this year’s interns. “My perspective is from site design and being around civil engineers and landscape architects, so it was nice to get hands-on experience of an integrated program.”

“When we were doing the design project, it felt like it took up a lot of time, like a school project. But after we made the final presentation, we all stepped back and said: ‘That was really cool!’ So I would definitely recommend the program to others, and I would do it again if I had the opportunity.”

“You never know what to expect, but we were all struck by just how polished and prepared the presentation was,” said Allison Ucci, a graphic designer and Senior Associate at SMMA who served as a program mentor. “The team did an incredible amount of up-front research, and that showed in the success of their final project.”


SMMA 2023 summer interns presenting to the firm and Berkley Investments

Above: This year's interns present their final project to an audience of SMMA and Berkeley Investments


The Integrated Internship gives students and young professionals exposure to SMMA’s integrated design model, with a focus on leadership opportunities and professional growth. This year’s interns were each paired with mentors drawn from a wide range of disciplines at the firm, including architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, graphic design, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, plumbing/FP, and IT.

“The interns get to experience the program as a kind of microcosm of SMMA,” said Ronald Wassmer, an architect and Associate at SMMA who also served as a mentor. “Being an interdisciplinary firm, it opens up a lot of opportunities for unexpected growth, because you get to have conversations with peers that you’ve never had before, as well as learn how the industry works.”  

"For me, what made the summer project cool is the integration of the different disciplines together,” said Kimberly Curry, a graphic design student at Northeastern University and one of this year’s interns. “That sets it apart from other internships I’ve had in the past, where I’ve been working only with other graphic designers. It’s been cool to see what else is going on and how my own career path can intersect with the other disciplines.”

“I also learned a lot about how projects work as a graphic designer. When I started, I was confused about what stage we were at, what the next steps were, and what was in construction or not in construction. But now I feel like I have a better grasp of how the process works and how to manage everything at once.”

The interns enjoyed visits to several project sites, including Andover West Elementary School, Waltham High School, and State Street’s headquarters in Quincy. The team also had a busy social calendar, attending SMMA’s annual soccer game and spending an evening at Fenway Park with mentors to root for the Red Sox.

This year’s interns were architecture interns Abby Quigley (Carnegie Mellon University), Vivienne Shi (Harvard Graduate School of Design), and Noah Ellingwood (Roger Williams University); structural engineering intern Jillian Bowen (University of Notre Dame); graphic design intern Kimberly Curry (Northeastern University); interior design intern Cherie Flores (Boston Architectural College); landscape architecture intern Clare O'Brien (Purdue University); IT intern Timmy Tran (Wentworth Institute of Technology); plumbing/FP intern Joseph Hurley (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); and mechanical engineering intern Kevin Zhou (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). Both Noah and Joseph were returning interns, having also completed the program last year.