High School Students Explore Architecture and Design Careers at Workshop/Camp

High School Students Explore Architecture and Design Careers at Workshop/Camp

By Kerry McCulloug...

June 15, 2015

High School Workshop Highlights

The College of Architecture annually hosts a summer high school workshop and camp entitled "Career Explorations in Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture." This camp offers high school students a unique experience to investigate issues surrounding design, learn more about the design professions and what it's like to be a college student. This year's camp was held June 7-June 13, 2015 with the students staying in Neihardt Residence Hall for a more collegiate experience.

The annual workshop, which was developed for high school students, provided learning opportunities in the form of design studio explorations, seminars and discussions, field trips and video presentations. As part of the workshop, students visited professional offices, learned about various career opportunities and developed fundamental skills necessary for the study of design.

One of the workshop instructors, Stacy Spale, said she loves teaching the high school workshop because the students' creativity is so energizing. "This year I was pleased to get a group of students with a real growth mindset. They came ready to learn and asked really great questions. We taught basic skills needed in the design profession, then we dove into the design process. We've learned about architectural drafting conventions by dissecting a green pepper. We've learned about empathy by designing something as intimate as a wallet for a partner. This whole time we've not supplied them with answers or facts, but prodded them to find their own answers through an iterative process. Even though I'm sure we've annoyed them when we say, 'What would make this better?' I've been impressed by their ability to keep at it, and not give up. "

Some of this year's student favorites included a Lego Studio. Spale said, "This may appear like child's play but students learn a great deal about design and structure with the use of Legos as their medium." In addition, the students had a weeklong project which entailed designing a campus food truck or other alternatives to eliminate the pedestrian food desert that is the west end of campus. Afterwards students presented their projects at an Exhibition Saturday morning.

These workshops can be a real eye-opener for some students. "I came here to learn more about interior design because I'm really interested in it," commented Hannah Scherr from Peak to Peak Charter School in Erie, Colorado. "I've learned a lot about all the details and work that goes into interior design. Our instructor said 99% of what goes into design you're not supposed to notice." So Scherr was surprised at the amount of work and fine detail that was involved with her project. Scherr said she never thought about interior design that way.

"I thought it was like building codes, elevations and picking pillows. There's a lot more behind interior design than I realized. It really furthered my passion for interior design."

Jackson Meyer from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, MO was another high school student who came to the workshop to explore his interest in design and architecture. Whether the workshop swayed Meyer toward the architectural career field is yet to be determined. When asked if he made a decision, he said with jest, "I'll let you know on Friday."

However Meyer and Scherr both agreed they loved the workshop and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in design and architecture. "I didn't expect the workshop to have as many fieldtrips as what we had, and I was surprised at the passion each of the instructors had for their field of study," Scherr comment.

Meyer expressed similar sentiments. "I just expected to be setting at my desk for 5 days drawing, so I was pleasantly surprised with all the fieldtrips and activities. It was a great time."