The architectural and structural engineering firm Klein & Hoffman has partnered with a University of Chicago Charter School to boost STEM education through an internship aimed at talented students in a challenged South Side neighborhood.
As a result, the firm brought real-life work experience as architects and structural engineers to two young, promising students: Ms. Sanii Terry and Mr. Joshua Banks, both at the UChicago Charter School in the inner city Woodlawn neighborhood. "100 percent of our students are accepted to college," Says Will Torres, Chief College Officer at UChicago Charter School. “Many are first-generation college students, and by being in a professional environment in downtown Chicago, they get a flavor for what it's like to succeed.”
The first students ever to complete the new K&H Summer Internship Program, Sanii Terry and Joshua Banks enjoyed an educational and friendly environment where they could learn “what it takes to become an architect or structural engineer,” says Homa Ghaemi, COO of Klein & Hoffman. “Not only were these honors students introduced to the profession, they also gained valuable, hands-on exposure to real projects. The result was a profound experience for both Klein & Hoffman employees as well as for the students.”
As a bonus, the Klein & Hoffman team took the two interns on a Chicago Architecture Foundation Boat Tour, to learn more about the impressive, iconic Chicago buildings.
"My mom is always in my ear about what I want to be when I grow up, and I really wanted to experience architecture,” says student Sanii Terry. “This also sets an example for my younger sisters, who look up to me, that we can do this, too, and though it might not be easy, it will be achievable.”
"For me it was about being a step ahead,” says Joshua Banks, the student who helped Klein & Hoffman take measurements atop Rush University Medical Center. “I had to commute to get to this internship, but I really wanted to have this opportunity.”
“We think this is an excellent model program so that valuable internships come at an early and influential moment in the students’ trajectories,” says Torres. “Support from the private sector is essential, and we need to see more initiatives like Klein & Hoffman’s program in the future.”