Gelila Kassa ’23

Calderón Architecture & Design Studio P.C., Beacon, NY

My remote internship with Calderón Architecture & Design Studio was something I hadn’t planned on a couple weeks before it started. Given the circumstances of many on-site internships changing due to the pandemic, I wasn’t expecting an opportunity to appear days after spring semester had ended. But since the uncertainties presented by the state of the world made me want to broaden my horizons, and feeling that exploring a career path initially not on my radar would be a useful experience to have, I decided to pursue it. Ultimately, I can say that in my search for new experiences, I wasn’t disappointed.

Calderón Architecture & Design Studio, founded by Williams alumnus J.C. Calderón ’87, works to develop environmentally-conscious architecture by paying attention to details of the surrounding environment and centering architectural design on the spaces structures occupy. They also renovate pre-existing structures, as well as additions 
to homes. Their mission emphasizes the importance of collaboration between clients and architects, in order to create something that clientele can enjoy aesthetically, but also for comfort and practicality.

While working at Calderón Architecture, I was able to witness the day-to-day activities of a small architectural firm in action. I sat in on several client calls and was exposed to how the collaboration between client and architect intersect while considering practical limitations (for example, previous building foundations and finances). I helped with office work relating to projects, where I consequently learned about the process of managing a variety of different residential projects, developing appropriate site plans, and the struggles of engineering physical structures and how to overcome them accordingly. However, for a majority of my time at the firm, I worked alongside another intern revamping their website with new projects and dabbling in marketing through social media boosting. Here, I was able to apply my artistic interest and passions by redesigning the projects page to accommodate several new profiles and enhance the already existing site.

I believe that my experience at Calderón Architecture has granted me a more nuanced take when thinking about the type of career I want to pursue in the future based on my 
current majors of choice, psychology and studio art. Looking 
back on it, I think I had tunnel vision when considering my career, already figuring that I would take a relatively traditional route. However, being able to see that I could apply my interests to work that I didn’t consider before has made me more open to discovering new paths. I’m glad that I decided to take a leap of faith and explore new career possibilities; because it not only broadened my future prospects, it also showed me how I can apply my knowledge and skills to a variety of occupations.

I’m incredibly grateful and would like to thank both the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the Class of 1966 for making this unique opportunity possible and allowing me to go outside of my comfort zone—even if I was only staying inside!