UGA College of Environment and Design Students Gain Real-World Experience with Archway Partnership Internship
August 4, 2017
By Patricia Bacon and Rosanna Cruz-Bibb
This past summer, three UGA College of Environment and Design students were able to gain real-world experience through the Archway Partnership internship program. Erica Mills, Tyler Barron, and Matthew Dean worked with Archway Partnership graduate assistants Kiley Aguar and Keely McDonald in Washington, Hart, and Habersham counties.
Matthew Dean, Master of Landscape Architecture graduate student from Commerce, Georgia, was encouraged by his professor to interview for the internship position. He worked with Aguar and McDonald to design welcome signage and a garden for the city of Davisboro, Georgia in Washington County.
“What I enjoyed most was the process of learning about the city and meeting its residents on our visits,” Dean said. “A large portion of the time was spent researching the city’s history and studying the existing architecture. Paring that down to create a cohesive design proved to be more difficult than I originally thought, but also very enjoyable.”
Undergraduate Tyler Barron travelled to Hart County for his second summer to help update the grounds and city block encompassing the Hart County Courthouse, along with Aguar and McDonald.
For Barron, a landscape architect major from Loganville who graduated in July, his introduction to the opportunity with Archway came when he was speaking with peers in school who had previously worked with Archway.
“My father was the mayor of my hometown for a number of years. As a result, I was genuinely interested in working closely with city governments, and Archway seemed like the perfect fit,” said Barron.
As graduate students, Kiley Aguar and Keely McDonald oversaw Barron’s project progression throughout the summer and provided assistance when needed. Aguar took the interns out on a tour of Athens at the beginning of the summer, showing them areas around the city they had never seen before including parks, planned communities, and places currently under construction.
At the end of the summer, the interns and graduate assistants presented their final work to the communities. For Dean, this experience proved to be intimidating yet rewarding.
“City council meetings are typically rather formal, which can be a bit unnerving,” Dean said. “However, it went well and the mayor and council members were happy with the product. My fingers are crossed that I get to see the signs on the highway someday.”
Erica Mills, a senior Landscape Architecture major from Lilburn, also found the experience of presenting to the members of the city government to be valuable.
“It was interesting to see how they reacted so positively to my project since I am just used to getting feedback from Landscape Architecture professors,” she said.
Mills worked for Habersham County on a comprehensive wayfinding system and highway beautification project around an important highway interchange. She is looking into pursuing a career in the governmental/municipal arena of Landscape Architecture, so the internship was a beneficial opportunity for her.
“Getting to see how counties and city municipalities interact with governmental departments was very interesting to me,” Mills said. “I had to do a lot of research on Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) regulations for my particular project and trying to understand their ordinances and regulations, as well as trying to get in touch with a representative, proved to be very informative and will definitely help me if I choose to pursue governmental work.”
The Archway Partnership connects Georgia communities to the full range of higher education resources available at the University of Georgia to address critical, community-identified needs. It is comprised of eight communities across Georgia which have access to the knowledge, research, and other resources available through interactions between communities and the university. Each community drives this process through an executive committee of community leaders and local organizations.