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The Intern Experience at Floura Teeter – Summer 2018

This summer Floura Teeter welcomed the opportunity to mentor and contribute to the growth of two landscape architecture students through internships at the firm. Ben Chronister came to us from Penn State University. With more than half of our professional staff hailing from Penn State, we are always open to meeting emerging professionals from that program. We also had the pleasure to work with Joe Reed from North Dakota State University, co-founder and principal Joan Floura’s alma mater. Joan met Joe while serving on NDSU’s Architecture and Landscape Architecture Advisory Board and knew he would make a great fit at Floura Teeter.

To engage our interns and maximize their time at Floura Teeter, we identified specific projects and goals Ben and Joe could make meaningful contributions to over the course of three months. These projects advance Floura Teeter’s goals to improve the sustainability of all of our projects and to increase our understanding of how our projects perform over the long term. By documenting performance, we not only improve our future work but can also provide valuable feedback to our clients and partners.

The tasks included:

  • Assessing the success rate of plantings in stormwater infrastructure on our highway design-build projects on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
  • Observing and quantifying which species thrived in the landscape installations at our projects in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood and why. They found that dog walking had a significant impact on the success of the plantings in the streetscape.
  • Creating site development concepts for the community garden in Highlandtown, our 2018 Community Grows Here winner.
  • Working with UMBC professor Chris Swan to assist him with promoting environmental education on his urban meadow plots in the Harlem Park neighborhood in Baltimore.
  • Various other tasks such as field work and data collection and site plan renderings and graphics.

At the end of the summer, Ben and Joe presented their work and findings to the whole firm. Ben noted,

This was my first immersion into a truly professional setting, and it was a remarkable experience. I didn’t have any real understanding of what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised with the work given to me. Post construction monitoring and research—something that is so often neglected, and something that has recently piqued my interest—was the main theme of the summer. I also learned a lot about dealing with clients and the inner workings of a landscape architecture office.

Joe also reflected on his time with the firm and said,

Overall, I had a great time and the summer flew by. It was my first time in a professional environment and I learned a ton. I really appreciate that we weren’t just assigned usual intern busy work, but most of the time we worked on actual projects. We were also able to sit in on client meetings, even though we weren’t needed, to better understand how an actual professional firm operates. The firm culture was also awesome. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. There is also an espresso machine and cold press coffee on tap, and there are usually dogs in the office on Fridays. That’s kind of hard to beat.

Everyone at Floura Teeter enjoyed having Joe and Ben as our interns this summer. We look forward to watching them grow as professionals in this field. Ben is starting his fifth and final year at Penn State with a BA in Landscape Architecture and minors in Sustainability Leadership and Forest Ecosystems. Joe is a graduate of NDSU with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Design and is pursuing his Master’s in Landscape Architecture starting this fall.

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