Glenda Reed, operations manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF), spoke with Irene Li, an urban planning student at NYU, about her experiences interning at CFAF.
Glenda Reed: Everyone at the CFAF calls you Irene, but you also have another name. Can you tell me about that?
Irene Li: Haoning Li is my Chinese name. I was born in Taipei and lived in Shanghai for six years before coming to the U.S. to study urban planning at NYU. Shanghai is the city that inspired me to want to be an architect. Everyone there is focused on the possibilities of the future. The way that this optimism manifests itself in Shanghai’s architecture is really interesting to me.
GR: What made you want to intern at CFAF?
IL: I want to become an architect. I thought the Foundation would be a good place to get work experience and learn more about the field of architecture. I started volunteering at Family Days [monthly Saturday hands-on design workshops for parents and children] and now intern in the office twice a week.
GR: What are some of the rewarding aspects of your internship?
IL: I enjoyed helping organize grant submissions. This helped me to understand the professional standards expected of architects presenting their work. I also enjoyed interacting with the kids in youth programs. It feels great coming to the Center for Architecture to work and be connected to the profession.
GR: What are your plans after graduation?
IL: I will be graduating this coming fall and will need to find a job. I want to intern or work for a few years, hopefully in an architecture firm, and then apply to graduate school in architecture.
There are many ways to get involved with CFAF including volunteering and interning. Currently, there are two openings for an Exhibition Assistant and a Programs@theCenter Summer Assistant. For more information visit www.cfafoundation.org/volunteer and www.cfafoundation.org/career.