Student Internship Spotlights: English Hinton and Zack Orr
This time of year, many students are seeking Summer internships. For two CED students, their remarkable experiences left a big impact as they closed a chapter on their time at UGA.
English Hinton, a recent graduate of the Historic Preservation program at the University of Georgia, interned with RTR Media for the Home Town show presented by HGTV this past summer. On the show, which takes place in Laurel, Mississippi, hosts and residents Ben and Erin Napier lead makeovers of older residential homes to create more livable spaces for homeowners.
English has been an avid watcher of HGTV shows for years. When watchingHome Town, she was inspired to reach out to one of the show’s project managers, Katie Hinton (no relation!), to see if there were internship positions available. Hinton replied and said they had a place for her, so English packed up and went down to Laurel for two months this past summer.
During her internship, English had the opportunity to see behind-the-scenes of what goes into producing a HGTV show and how they renovate the homes. The homes are renovated as single-family residences and typically work within a $200k budget for purchase and construction costs. During Hinton’s internship, she was on-site learning about how the homes are assessed for renovation, how the construction in constructed, and background research.
“Our structures shape us,” said English when discussing the importance of quality renovation. Not only does the research on the history of the place need to be done, but “those who are working on the house need to properly be trained to obtain the skill set of working with older homes.”
For her thesis, English researched the HGTV showsHome Town, Restored by the Fords and Rehab Addicts – all shows that all claim to perform some kind of preservation. In her analysis, she looked at how well the shows complied with the “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties” that are used by architectural historians, historic preservation planners and local communities for compliance review. Her analysis resulted in a recommendation that these national standards should include a new category – “revitalization” – to better reflect and guide the pragmatic and creative ways building owners can implement respectful changes and breathe new life into a building or area.
Laurel, MS, had been working on revitalizing their structures through the flourishing Main Street Program before HGTV joined the scene. Between that model program and the show, money has been brought back into Laurel and helped the local economy.
English says that during her internship working with Home Town, the program has done an admirable job of preserving the character of the old homes while still making them more comfortable for life in the 21st century. “People don’t want to live in museums,” said English. “When restoring the homes, a priority is for people to be able to use the space.”
While still associated with construction but in a different form, Zack Orr, a fourth year in UGA’s BLA program, completed a virtual internship experience this past summer with the Raleigh branch of Kimley-Horn, a Planning, Design, and Engineering firm. Due to COVID-19, the 10–12-week program had to be reduced to 4 weeks and was conducted entirely virtually. One benefit of this virtual arrangement is that the interns got to interact with a wider group of Kimley-Horn professionals and interns than just those in their regional branches.
During his internship, Zack and the other Kimley-Horn, Raleigh interns had the opportunity to compete in a one-week design competition with the other Kimley-Horn branches to complete a hypothetical redesign for a city block in Raleigh, NC.
During the design competition, Zack worked on the commercial landscape side of the project, while teammates with other backgrounds worked on the architectural side. The challenge was to create Class A office space within a full city block, with a certain amount devoted to both commercial and residential spaces. The team also included an open-air market as part of their city block.
When presenting the project, the team used Lumion, a 3D rendering software, to help bring their city block to life and create a more realistic walkthrough of what the space would look at feel like. Zack’s team was the regional as well as the firm-wide winner of the competition!
Due to the virtual nature of the internship, Zack said he was thrilled to have been able to meet more people than he would had they been in-person and enjoyed being able to work on the office space project. The design competition also would not have happened if it had been a regular year. Zack reported that the internship was a good real-world experience in what it would be like working with a team on projects in the future. In 2021, Zack will be joining Kimley-Horn's Midtown office in Atlanta as a landscape architect.
No matter what your degree is, one of the best ways to delve further into your chosen course of study is to participate in an internship. English advises students nervous about finding internships to, “Just reach out and apply, because the worst that can happen is you do not hear back, or they do not have room for an intern, but you never know unless you try.”
With internship season beginning, keep an eye out for advice from advisors, utilize the UGA Career center workshops, and ask your peers about their experiences with internships. CED professor Brad Davis -- who has served as both undergraduate and graduate coordinator for the CED’s Landscape Architecture programs – advises students to “take advantage of the opportunity to live and work somewhere new for the summer. Many of the CED scholarships cover internship-related expenses.” When applying, look for places you share a connection with to help in your search. Be willing to try new experiences, add quality work to your portfolio, ask for recommendations, and be persistent.
Please check out the following sources from UGA as you begin your internship journey!