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Fifty-Four High School, College and Graduate Students Complete Their 2018 Summer Internships at DDC

August 10, 2018

NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo today addressed 54 high school, college and graduate students at a closing ceremony to mark the completion of their technically oriented paid summer internships, where they were mentored by DDC professionals and learned skills and professionalism.

“DDC summer internships expose students to the day-to-day work that goes into careers in engineering, architecture and construction and provides them with the tools to translate that knowledge into personal success,” said Commissioner Grillo. “We hope that in the future many of these students will return to careers at DDC, building the critical infrastructure and public buildings that make the City operate.”

“I’m thrilled DDC is offering this invaluable opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience and training in engineering, architecture, construction, and design,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “In their fourth year, DDC high school summer internships have a track record of success in preparing students for the future, and move us closer to our goal of equity and excellence for all.”

“The High School Summer Internship Program offers young New Yorkers hands-on training and STEAM-related experiences—giving them essential professional skills that will help them build their careers—and our city,” said Commissioner Bill Chong of the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development. “DYCD is proud to partner with DDC to connect our City’s youth with jobs that will provide them with the knowledge that builds the foundation for lifelong career success.”

“The exposure to civil engineering and construction that our interns have gained this summer is invaluable, especially in New York City, an urban landscape that is ever-changing in response to the needs of its people and environment,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives, Lee Llambelis, "They’ve seen world-class solutions to the challenges the City faces daily. Our students have been working with some of the best built environment professionals in the industry. The jobs of the future will be found in the architecture, engineering, and construction management sectors. It is critically important that we expose our young people to rigor and high expectations of the industry in a professional setting. We are extremely proud to send our 2018 high school and college interns out into the world."

Each DDC summer intern was assigned a personal mentor from a DDC division, including Administration, Architecture & Engineering, Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives, Infrastructure, Office of the Chief Architect, Law/General Counsel’s Office, Program Management and Public Buildings. Interns also made weekly visits to DDC construction sites throughout the City to learn about managing and supervising complex municipal construction projects.

This was the fourth year of DDC’s High School Summer Internship program. There were 11 male and 15 female high school interns in the five-week program, representing each borough and 24 different New York City public high schools. DDC received almost 600 applications for the slots.

High school interns attended weekly educational workshops on career paths in architecture, engineering and construction, college readiness and networking. This year students also took part in a new Virtual Reality (VR) workshop series where they worked collaboratively to create a culminating VR Video project focusing on community development.

The College and Graduate Summer Intern Program is a long tradition at DDC. There were 29 students in the 2018 program, representing 16 different schools and majoring in the fields of engineering, architecture, construction management, urban planning and sustainability design. DDC received over 400 applications for the 10-week paid internship.

Students were paired with a professional mentor, took field trips to DDC project locations and participated in a Community Day where they worked on various beautification and clean-up projects.

Wilmer Zuna, a student at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, spoke for the high school interns at the closing ceremony, held today at the DDC’s offices in Long Island City, Queens.
“It is my goal to pursue a career as an engineer,” said Wilmer. “I wish to use my education to improve communities around me in New York City and around the world. I want to study engineering so that I can give back to society by improving city structures, transportation systems, infrastructure to provide accessibility to water, and many other resources that can help larger society. Here at DDC, I have become a part of yet another community. On the first day of our internship, we were introduced to DDC professions who shared similar backgrounds and had faced similar adversities. I was relieved to see individuals speak about their challenges and how they overcame them. It made me understand that I could do the same.”

Graduate intern Brenna Hemmings of the Bronx received her BA in History and Sociology in 2017 from SUNY-New Paltz. She’s currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Hunter College in Manhattan. She represented the college and graduates students at the closing ceremony. “You never stop learning even after you’ve earned your degree,” she said. “Don’t let the expectation of a certificate prevent you from broadening your worldview. Try to learn something new every day or read from a perspective that you’ve never considered. Take what you learn and share it with others. The minute I learned about how capital projects were funded, that was all that I talked about to my family and friends. You never know what’ll spark something in you.”

DDC student internship programs are conducted in conjunction with DDC’s STEAM education initiative, established in 2014 to create a diverse and inclusive pipeline for New York City's youth to engage in the architecture, construction and engineering industries. The High School Summer Internship Program is also organized in partnership with the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development. DDC STEAM also coordinates a middle school summer enrichment program that’s been shown to increase students’ interest in technical career fields and make them more confident in their ability to do math and science. Overall, DDC STEAM has served more than 2,500 students since its inception.