Name: Graciela Martin
Hometown: Broward County, FL
Degree/Major: Landscape Architecture
Where did you intern? What did you do there?
I am currently interning at RDM Landscape Services, a landscape design and landscape contracting firm based in Miami-Dade County.
How did you get your internship?
I was recommended by a mentor and FIU Studio 1 Professor, Roberto Aragon, who is an alumnus from the Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design program.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process?
Take it slow! You don’t have to learn everything in a day. The growing process takes time and effort. Give it the best you got and keep moving forward, even when you make mistakes!
What projects did you work on?
We work on commercial and high-end residential landscape projects.
How did your internship connect back to your coursework?
At my internship, I get to learn about landscape architecture as it applies in the real world. In school, I learn about conceptual design, and I can draw from my real-world experience I have gained during my internship to inform my conceptual process in my courses. Although my coursework gave me a grasp of most of the software I use at my internship, I have also gotten a more in depth and advanced skill set with design programs such as CAD and Rhino, which helps so much in school.
What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship?
Since I am interning at a landscape design-build firm, I get to see how the conceptual process develops into a real-world design relatively quickly. I also get to do field site visits alongside an ISA Certified Arborist, and my knowledge of plants and horticulture is growing by the day.
What did you like most about your experience?
One of the things I enjoy the most is measuring tree diameters when we are a site visit, because we are literally hugging trees! I enjoy seeing projects being done in real life and being a part of that process is the best feeling.
What did you learn about yourself?
I have learned that I am a hands-on person. I prefer to be out in the field and communicating with others to get our ideas across. I have also learned that even though I am not the most organized person, I will make sure to work as hard as I can to get everything done.
How did the position increase your professional confidence?
I am still learning and growing in my professional confidence. However, I have learned to not be afraid to ask questions to my boss or peers when I am confused. I want to learn and get better at my job, even as a professional.
How did you expand your professional network?
I became involved with a non-profit organization called WoLand Foundation Inc. They are a wonderful team of mentors that I have stayed connected with to help me grow professionally and as a student. Through them I have gotten to network and stay connected. I have also been a CSO Rep for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) which has been an amazing opportunity to get to know students and professionals in my career interest.
How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?”
Real-world situations sometimes demand quick responses under pressure and watching those around me working to resolve conflicts has helped me to develop strategies of my own for dealing with issues that don’t necessarily come up in my studios or coursework.