Paying It Forward: Guiding Aspiring Architects

Editor's note: This blog post was adapted from a 2010 issue of Direct Connection.

An IDP supervisor’s goal is to help aspiring architects by providing them with knowledge, guidance, and support over the beginning of their architectural careers. Those who serve in this role find the experience both challenging and rewarding, as they enjoy the fresh ideas and new perspectives aspiring architects bring to their firm. We asked John Prokos, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, and Holly Miller, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, of GUND Partnership to share tips for guiding emerging professionals along the path to licensure.

“Younger people are delaying getting registered and we want to provide them with a structured program to get licensed,” said Prokos, the firm’s managing principal. Prokos has been a supervisor for more than 25 years and works with Miller, the firm’s licensing advisor, to formalize training for aspiring architects.

“We make sure we meet with interns quarterly to go over their goals and to see what they have achieved during that time,” Miller said. She adds that they have implemented weekly luncheons and study time for the ARE, as suggested in the IDP Guidelines. Their firm also provides financial assistance to establish an NCARB Record and take the exam. Miller says a structured internship policy ensures aspiring architects are exposed to all areas of the practice and facilitates getting them into the field, exposure that GUND Partnership understands is critical to their development.

Prokos advises architects who are thinking of taking on the IDP supervisor role to “just do it—it will make your firm a better place.” He also recommends being respectful of what the intern is going though, and trying to understand their career path and goals. “You don’t want to force what you feel the intern should do, but you do want to give them an opportunity to explore and fulfill their professional goals.” His advice to aspiring architects seeking support on the path to licensure: “Ask if they have an internship policy and then talk to young people in the firm to see if their company provides interns with opportunities, a well rounded experience and is committed to the IDP.”