“It is overwhelming because it is a real building,” says Jezelle Gordon ’17 of helping to redesign a-community center for The Conference of Churches in Hartford, Conn. The 30,000 square-foot building, called “The 224 EcoSpace,” combines an art gallery, dance studio, banquet hall, and work space under one roof. As an architectural engineering technology major in the University of Hartford’s College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, this is a dream job for Jezelle and a chance to add professional experience to her résumé.
Jezelle landed the internship through the University’s Express to Success program, which pairs students with proven leaders in their chosen field of study for a weeklong mentoring experience. During her internship, Jezelle will design a new commercial kitchen and what is known as a living wall (an art installation made of plants). She will also create new sidewalks and remove doors to create more natural light and space.
“This is a great opportunity,” Jezelle says. “It gives me insights into what it is really like to work as an architect.”
Only a few days into her internship, The Conference of Churches asked Jezelle to continue working for them. “It has been a tremendous blessing for us to have younger people active in the leadership and transformation of the organization,” says the Reverend Shelly Best, CEO and president of The Conference of Churches, “It is a new way of thinking.”
When Jezelle graduates in May 2017, she will be able to see what one of her designs look like in reality. The commercial kitchen is expected to be done by next spring.