College of Architecture + The Arts

Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture Building
11200 SW 8th Street Miami, Florida 33199

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My Internship at Tomas Tillberg Design

Name: Rachael Cowan

Hometown: Miami, FL

Degree/Major: Interior Architecture

Where did you intern? What did you do there?

I’m currently an intern at Tomas Tillberg Design, a cruise ship design firm. I help keep the materials library organized, assist with making specification books, and sometimes draft initial models on design software, Revit.

How did you get your internship?

I received an email from Professor Katie Rothfield, saying there was an internship available there. She always sends out emails with job/internship opportunities. From there I emailed the specified contact and landed an interview. The rest is history!

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process?

Keep an open mind! Don’t be afraid to apply to multiple internships, and don’t be hell-bent on working in one specific place. You never know where you’ll get an interview, and sometimes the vibe at the actual office is much different than you expected.

What projects did you work on?

I recently started working at Tomas Tillberg Design, but we’re currently working on an exciting project for a major cruise line.

How did your internship connect back to your coursework?

Since I’ll be starting the Cruise Ship and Super Yacht (CSSY) program this upcoming semester, and then studying cruise ship design in Italy in the spring, this internship is directly related to everything I’m focusing on in school at the moment. It gives me the opportunity to apply my coursework to real-life projects.

What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship?

The coolest thing about my internship is seeing the process of designing a vessel’s interior from start to finish. Watching projects come to life is something that I, as a student, haven’t had many opportunities to see.

What did you like most about your experience?

Being around people who have so much experience in the design field is something I cherish about this internship. I’m able to learn something new every day.

What did you learn about yourself?

I’ve learned that I sometimes underestimate my own capabilities. When I realize that I’ve done something impressive or above expectation, I’m often surprised. Slowly but surely, I’m learning to be more confident in my work!

How did the position increase your professional confidence?

Since this is my first internship, it increased my professional confidence greatly. I feel that I took a large step forward in my career.

How did you expand your professional network?

The cruise ship design field is a tight knit one and working for a firm that has been in the industry for so many years has allowed me to meet so many professionals that I could likely work with in the future.

How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?”

In school, we receive critiques and grades for our studio projects, and then essentially, we move on to the next semester. However, this internship gives me the opportunity to give my input on built projects that will be experienced by real people.

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