University of Michigan

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI


Architecture and Planning Students Spend Spring Break on Professional Externships

By lacroixa
Mar 19, '19 7:14 PM EST

More than 200 Firms and Nonprofits from New York to L.A. Mentor 240 Students

University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning students traveled across the country during spring break, March 4-8, 2019, for externships. The externships, which are generously hosted by more than 200 firms and nonprofits, allowed more than 240 students the opportunity to combine their academic studies with real-world experiences. They built networks, received mentorship, and were exposed to a variety of tasks that ranged from making presentation models to visiting project sites.

“This is one of the most rewarding and memorable programs for our students,” said Cynthia Radecki, assistant dean for advancement. “Students go into the field to learn and experience professional life, visualizing their futures as they finish their academic studies. We are thankful to the hosts—many of whom are alumni—who make this possible for our students. They are paving the way for future generations of designers and planners through their generosity of time and investment.”  

Students were hosted in more than 20 U.S. cities at architecture and planning firms and organizations, including AgencyEA, Arquitectonica, Gensler, HKS, Morphosis, NBBJ, Payette, SHoP Architects, Sasaki, SOM, SmithGroup, and government offices from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles.

In Chicago, Perkins + Will hosted a welcome reception for the more than 80 students and hosts in the metro area, as well as Chicago-based U-M architecture and planning alumni. Nationally, four Perkins + Will offices hosted spring break students.

“We were honored to host  U-M architecture, planning and urban design students on their externships and the organizations hosting them,” said Doug Smith, AIA, AICP,  Perkins + Will managing director, Chicago office. “As professionals invested in our disciplines, we maintain a shared desire to inspire the future generations of designers who will lead in placemaking, discovery, and design.”

"This week in Chicago, I've gained new professional mentors, learned what kind of team I would like to work in, and have been inspired by amazing projects," said Sia Ma, Bachelor of Science in Architecture student, who completed her externship with John Ronan Architects in Chicago. "I'm leaving this experience ready to finish my final year and go out into the world to do the craft I've been trained to do, which is to use design to change the world."

About U-M Taubman College Advancement’s Career and Professional Development:

Taubman College Career and Professional Development offers a variety of programs, services, and resources to assist students and alumni in exploring careers, securing positions and continuing skill development and management. Services include an annual spring break externship program; a career and networking fair, and an online career platform to connect U-M alumni and students interested in architecture and planning careers across the globe. For more about the services, visit