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Field Trip Inspires Dreams

citi youth field trip books library

On Friday April 4th, MAS accompanied 20 high school students on a visit to architecture and planning firms Perkins Eastman and BFJ Planning. The students, who are part of the MAS CITI Youth program, had a first-hand look at the work of professional architects and planners — receiving an office tour and presentations by key staff from both firms.

For the past seven months, these interns have been working as map technicians at their local community board. The students attend public community board meetings where they create and project maps to help facilitate the decision-making process. As a component of their internship, MAS provides monthly professional development workshops that are aimed at helping them increase their capacity as map technicians and expand their knowledge base.

This year’s workshops have included instruction in advanced map-making, preparing for college, financial literacy and resume writing, among others. With our most recent tour at Perkins Eastman/BFJ Planning, the students had an opportunity to complement the local knowledge they’ve gained from attending community board meetings with a presentation of some of the most cutting edge projects in the metropolitan area.

Intern Dimitri Bartholomew, a student at the High School of Art and Design, was particularly interested in the transit-oriented development work BFJ is doing in Beacon, NY. An architect major, Dimitri was fascinated by the relationship between buildings and place. Through an in-depth presentation, he learned how simple transit investments such as light rails and pedestrian paths can create new energy in underutilized downtowns. Intern Denzel Ruffin of East Harlem was also taken by this presentation saying “I learned that it takes density to construct more transportation.”

citi youth looking at models

The CITI interns are growing-up “green” and were very appreciative to the firm’s attention to sustainability. As intern Mark Ortiz from the South Bronx put it, “…the concern for the environment remains constant.” Intern Shichun Zhou of Hell’s Kitchen was also interested in learning more about how the staff addressed sustainability and was excited to learn about the creative ways architects have reused old buildings.

For most CITI interns, this workshop was their first tour of a professional office. Many of the interns are interested in becoming architects and planners and all of them are engaged in local community planning issues. Through the CITI program, these students are able to have real world exposure to these fields and gain greater confidence in their ability to shape our city. Intern Richard Vilabrera from Crown Heights has dreams of becoming an architectural engineer. After taking the tour and speaking with professionals in the field, he has only become more resolute in his goal stating “…it made me want to pursue it even more!”