When reflecting on my experiences working with WLG, I’m proud of how much I’ve grown with the help of this program. Last year, when Work Learn & Grow first started I was in a CUNY College Course. During this course, we often had class discussions which I had trouble with. Given the fact that I struggle with social anxiety, it took me a while to get comfortable. Another challenge that I had to overcome was presenting work. I was required to give a speech in front of the entire class about stereotypes. A few weeks before the project, Ms. Connors, who was my instructor at the time, allowed each person to randomly pick a paper slip from the basket. Every slip had a number. Those numbers determined the order as to who was going to present first. When I picked up a slip from the basket and opened it, it turned out I was the first one. On the day of this project, I started with my speech. Despite my preparation, I was extremely nervous and unconfident. I had a script written down and I read word for word. At one point I was tempted to end my speech because of how uncomfortable I was. However, with the encouragement of my peers, I kept on going. From this CUNY Course, I I can say that it improved my presentation and communication skills because it helped me understand how important it is to reach out and connect with people, share ideas, and build relationships.
Unlike last year’s WLG program, this year was little different because we worked online. Even though both CUNY courses focused primarily on preparing us for college, for the ending project of this year’s WLG, we had to share our future career with the class and explain why we chose it. My future career path was Fashion Designing. Compared to last year, presenting my intended career path with the class was less nerve-racking than the first project I gave on stereotypes. I was a little more confident in my speaking abilities and was motivated to share my interests. After this course, I joined Makerspace, which I believe is the best decision I’ve made this year. Makerspace has allowed me to be myself while also instilling in me a sense of responsibility. My job as an intern is to work with my team on coming up with ideas on how to design a new kiosk for Snug Harbor on Staten Island. We started by creating a Google Slides presentation to organize our ideas, including budget, cost of material, client needs, and much more. After modifying it several times, more topics were added, such as precedent studies, inspirations, bubble diagrams, and public spaces principles. My team and I would have to present our presentation each time we corrected our slides. When looking at clips on how I presented it with my team, I’ve begun to realize that I need to work on not being repetitive. When I speak, the word “umm” is heavily used in my vocabulary which can be an issue because it distracts listeners from fully understanding what I have to say. Aside from this, another thing that I need to work on is taking initiative. The reason why I want to work more on taking initiative is because I feel that it is a great quality to have. It not only shows how much of a great leader you are, but how much you are involved, and that’s what I aspire to be.
My experience during Work, Learn, Grow was an interesting one to say the least. I learned a lot about myself from working with my peers and supervisors, some of these experiences have been positive for me and others have led me to acknowledge some of my shortcomings and re-evaluate what I need to improve on in order to move forward. Ultimately I learned that my leadership skills under the pandemic lacked something, it was difficult to unite a team completely from home and have everyone be able to give their all to the project. This has shown me that I need to approach things in a different way, starting now I will be more direct and concrete with what I want out of my teammates and when I need it from them. While I have learned much from my experience working in Work, Learn, Grow, I’ve realized that I need to learn more. At least once a week we have had presenters take the time out of their day and join us in Makerspace to discuss a topic, as well as demonstrate its functionality. These presentations have provided me with many opportunities to learn outside of my regular high school life and some of these presenters we have met over the last few months have really stuck with me. This was surprising to me as their subject matter related to topics I particularly did not care for, such as graphic design, zoning regulations, economics and environment. However it wasn’t the topics that stuck with me but the philosophies they held and the way they handled themselves is what really interested me. A good example of this would be when we were joined by Greg Rogers, an architectural visualization consultant. His presentation related to the future of Architectural visualization using Unreal Engine. He discussed how he came up with the idea of using Unreal Engine to create renders of architectural floor plans as opposed to sketching them. This was interesting to me because he used graphic design(a major I don’t particularly like) to advance development in an architectural field(a major I do particularly like). It showed me that not everything has to be so linear, subjects and ideas that you normally thought wouldn’t work, do if you evaluate it with a open-mind. I would’ve never learned this if I had not been present that day in Makerspace and it showed me that I can learn so much more if I can keep actively engaging in presentations like this. Overall I’ve grown a lot during my time in Work, Learn, Grow, I’ve changed my attitude about certain topics and I’ve changed my entire outlook on engaging in active conversations. I can say for sure that I would definitely participate in Work, Learn, Grow if given the opportunity(though I wouldn’t know how that would work as I am a exiting senior), this experience has been very meaningful and I can wholeheartedly say that I am leaving this rather interesting year with little to no regrets.
I believe that I gained a tremendous amount of experience through working in the WHSAD Makerspace studio. I further believe that I not only grew as a worker but as an individual and future adult. This is mainly due to the mindset I had to adapt. For instance, in the beginning of the job I was not only juggling daily activities such as working out and playing basketball on a team but I also had to make time for my college process. This process was extremely lengthy as it consumed of numerous supplements in which I had to create portfolios and drawings to showcase my abilities. On top of all of these activities, I also had to complete my school work which I received daily. This was extremely stressful and difficult for me as I didnt even have enough time to properly treat and care for myself. It was not until our most recent school break where I was able to relax and take care of myself emotionally, physically and mentally. I surprisingly found a way to plan my days out so that I can make time for every activity I had to do.
Although it was extremely difficult I found it very beneficial to my growth as an individual because I gained a new sense of responsibility and maturity. I was forced to understand that the things I have to do are not always the things I want to do. For example, I sacrificed working out and playing basketball to complete reflections and updates for my project. I further had to learn the realization that there are going to be numerous times where I have to sacrifice my daily plans to complete work or a task. An example of this was when I had to cancel plans with my friends to complete an autocad drawing of the Vacant Lot for work. Although it hurt in the moment, I appreciate this experience because it helps prepare me for events like this in the future. With this being said, I rather adjust to this new concept now as I’m growing rather than have to figure it out once I’m older and set in my own ways. To add on, this makes my life more efficient as I am able to plan my days out better and more accordingly to what I need.
I also found Makerspace extremely helpful as it offered numerous opportunities not only for my intended major which is architecture but also for the college process I was involved in. The worksites we were taking part in as well as the tasks in which we had to complete for them helped prepare us for the line of work we are interested in. It further gave us an insight into how future projects would be run. For example, I was involved in the beautification for the Vacant Lot in Mariners Harbor. My team and I were in charge of creating a new design for the lot as well as consistently contacting the stakeholder for their opinions and feedback. This experience was extremely beneficial as I learned how to take peoples feedback constructively and improve my design in the aspect they wanted me to. For instance, my team and I created a design which was later altered once we presented. We were told to move the food stands to the perimeter of the lot and create a pathway easily accessible for people to pass. This was not included at all in our design, so it took us a while to edit the layout to fit the stakeholders needs. With this being said, I gained a tremendous amount of experience from the job site supervisors as we would present weekly updates to showcase our ideas and work for the week. I am not the kind of person who does well with criticism so it was extremely important for me to gain this experience as I am now more suitable and understanding for a working environment.
I spent all of my time as an intern with my school’s design club, WHSAD Makerspace Studio, specifically as a project manager, working with my team on proposing a concept for re-imagining a vacant lot in Staten Island, NY. As simple as it sounds, a lot of work and effort went into this project. Our work consisted of doing extensive research on the project site, creating a site analysis, finding site images, working in AutoCAD, creating bubble diagrams, and presenting a heavily worked on Google Slides presentation at least once a week to our supervisors and stakeholders. As a project manager, I had to ensure that my team and I were caught up with everything and understood what was required of us simply because anything done by the team, was essentially done in my name. The work didn’t stop there, however. I was chosen by my supervisors to take on a multitude of tasks and responsibilities such as keeping track of attendance, mediating guest presentations, emailing all of my fellow co-workers along with nearly 80 other students regarding guest presentations multiple times during the week and creating questionnaire spreadsheets, emailing stakeholder on behalf of my team, and making important announcements. It was tough, but in ways I didn’t expect, all of it paid off.
My hard work paid off in a physical sense, every two weeks on payday. However, it also paid off in a mental aspect because I learned that it’s best to tackle obstacles as they come, as opposed to tackling everything in advance. Prior to starting my CUNY classes in November, I had more time to focus on my school work, which allowed me to complete all of my assignments long before their deadlines. I did the same with my CUNY assignments, and this proved to be working well. The start of my internship, however, is when things started becoming immensely difficult. Expecting to get everything done ahead of time, I was sure that balancing my school work and internship responsibilities would be a breeze. Little did I know, I was in for a rude awakening. The responsibility I had was a lot more than I had expected, ultimately preventing me from getting all of my work done ahead of time. No matter how much I tried, I felt as though I could never truly catch up with everything, as if every time I took a step forward, both my internship and school responsibilities together advanced three steps ahead of me. I tried everything, but nothing proved to be efficient. Luckily, I recognized this early on and knew I had to shift gears. The only possible thing I could think to do was to manage all tasks as they came. This didn’t ease my feeling of being overwhelmed, but it sure did make me feel as though I was in control again. Ultimately, I learned that taking things at a slower pace and tackling obstacles one by one as they occur, is an effective method. To say this was a learning experience would be an understatement.
What I enjoyed the most about WLG was how much I’ve grown as a person. I didn’t realize how much I’ve grown until I realized how much I learned about myself. I grew in a way that has made me stronger, sharper, and smarter in my work ethic. Personally, I’ve grown to be more appreciative of my determination to never give up, no matter how difficult the task is and how much I have on my plate.
Working for the WLG was a great learning experience for me. Throughout the entire program, I was able to improve my communication and work habits. I was able to work with my teammates on a project called Bushwick Generator. This project focuses on designing the interior of the ground floor and first floor. I have learned a lot by focusing on different parts of the project and researching information about specific things such as the history of the site, human and cultural analysis of the site, architectural precedent study, etc. I was able to understand why this building can become a key element in the community and how it can transform people that live nearby the location where this building will be built. The Bushwick Generator will be a community for working, learning, building networks, and growing businesses. I took this project seriously and tried to be professional about it. Throughout the entire program, I was submitting documents on time and doing every assignment that I was responsible to complete. For example, one of the most memorable assignments that I have worked on was called principles for creating great community places where I focused on defining 6 principles of placemaking: money is not the issue, you are never finished, the community is the expert, create a place, not a design, you can see a lot just by observing, and have a vision. I provided specific examples of each of these principles and described what these principles are about in detail. This assignment helped me understand the main principles of placemaking and helped me understand why placemaking is an essential part of creating great community places. have learned that it is very important to use your time wisely and always turn in assignments in time. Managing time wisely is always part of professionalism and helps you develop a sense of responsibility. These skills helped me to complete all the tasks that I was assigned throughout the program and develop a brief presentation full of essential information. Overall, being part of WLG was truly a special experience, and I was able to develop and improve a lot of skills and gained a profound knowledge of many aspects of design and architecture such as placemaking which is the process of creating quality places that people want to live, work, play, and learn in. Placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm to maximize shared value. Understanding the principles of placemaking helped me use my knowledge and add more information to the main presentation that I was working on called Bushwick Generator. I believe that the knowledge and experience that I gained for WLG will be very useful in the future.
My work experience throughout Work Learn and Grow was incredible. I worked on presentations, designing, and communicating with my team about the project. I was working on the project called the Bushwick Generator, in which my team and I focused on designing the interior of the ground floor and first floor. We first started by working on the objectives of the project. Then we started working our way up with aspects such as the site analysis and architectural precedent studies related to the project. We also worked on the bubble diagram and the elevations. After we gathered all the information, we put it in our presentation and presented to the stakeholders, supervisors, and the other students who also participated in the program. We also would have guest speakers like architects, designers, and alums from WHSAD who would present to us. They would tell us about their experiences and they would give us advice or tips.
I have learned a lot when presenting. Some of the things that I have learned are speaking loud and clear, not reading from the slides, and how to streamline text on slides and leave most of the words for the speaker notes. I remember receiving feedback from my supervisors, stakeholders, and the students who also participated in this program. I feel the feedback that I was given was able to help me to do better not just speaking but what needs to be fixed in the next presentation. So for the next time I present it will be better. And it has also helped me to start working on the next steps of the project. I have also learned how to work with people, for example my partner Saba. We are in the same team and working on the same project. We worked together fixing the presentation and doing research. When working in a team, I feel communication is key because you’re able to talk about the next steps about the project and sharing out ideas. This way we are able to get the tasks done.
Even though it was just virtual, I’m glad I was able to be part of this great opportunity because I’ve developed new skills such as public speaking, communication, and becoming a good leader. I feel that I have grown because of Work, Learn, Grow. I remember in the beginning of the program, I was nervous and shy to speak in presentations or when talking with my team, but throughout the program I gained confidence and wasn’t afraid to speak anymore. I asked questions and participated in discussions. Public speaking was one of my weaknesses, but now it has become a strength due to presenting my project and the feedback that I was given.
During the WLG program while working with WHSAD Makerspace we had a plethora of tasks to fulfill during our employment. Some of the things that we did daily included working with team members on improving our presentation and speaking with supervisors for advice. Every once in a while we had to present to our supervisors to show them our progress made on the presentation. About once a week we had presentations by people in different fields of work where we got to ask them questions, and afterwards we had to write a summary of what they talked about and what we learned. At the end of the week we were responsible for filling out our timesheets and sending it to our supervisor.
Approaching the end of the program we had to present to our project stakeholder and receive feedback from them. Regarding feedback, we got a lot of it from supervisors and stakeholders. Specifically, I got comments on how to respond to questions on your presentation and how to organize slide information better. For example if I don’t know the exact response to a question right away I should just tell the person “I am not sure at this moment, but I will definitely get back to you on that.” When it comes to slides, try to keep text to a minimum because too many words can be distracting to the viewer.
Some other things that I learned from this experience was how to speak during a presentation and other forms of presentation etiquette. I can definitely say that I have grown from beginning to end of the program. When it comes to my communication skills, they have improved tremendously. I’ve learned it is good to reach out when you have a question or even if there is a problem in the work space. Before this opportunity with WLG I may have been more timid when it came to speaking up when I was unsure of things. Also, during times when I had to communicate with my group, I became much better at that. At the beginning of the program, I wouldn’t really reach out to team members when we were supposed to work on things together or just letting them know that I wouldn’t be present one day, but I can say that has all changed since being part of WHSAD Makerspace & WLG. Overall the experience was great and very informative for me.
My name is Gilver Bueno, and as a former member of the now completed Work, Learn, Grow program of this year, I’ve done some of my most remarkable work. I’ve learned a significant amount and matured in ways that only a job can provide. As for my work which I will describe first, I’ve spent the majority of my time with WLG on the Smallpox Memorial Hospital Project. This specific project had to do with the reimagining of the space of the Smallpox Memorial Hospital located on Roosevelt Island into something that the public and tourists can use and enjoy, all while maintaining the rich history of the original structure. Part of my job was creating and identifying the necessary steps towards the ideas that my team had for how to revitalize and reuse the building. Coming up with concepts and examples or architectural precedents which served as projects that could resemble the finished idea that myself, Maya Ortiz, Hailey Brizuela, and Joshua Nunez had in mind. Taking into consideration the many factors of the project space, surrounding area, and the needs and desires of the community, led my group to decide upon a community center, which after hours of research and understanding the limitations of the area and building codes, was then incorporated into a presentation set for the stakeholders of the project.
The knowledge gained from the WLG program has proved to be incredibly valuable in many facets of life, especially in the, sometimes overwhelming, aspects of one’s senior year. This program has taught me to prioritize work based on time and importance, managing and delegating parts of a project, taking initiative wherever possible, and most importantly communicating. There were times when the workload would be too much to handle when it came to coming up with concepts. Instead of normally handling work on my own, I would ask for help from my team or ask them to do certain things to help our overall goal. Other times I needed to ask for help or clarification, which allowed me to improve upon my skills rather than wait for a review or a check up. I would begin to prioritize my work based on what is needed as soon as possible, such as the bubble diagrams, the mission statement, and the programming of the space. Each skill that I’ve learned from my time with WLG such as communication specifically has helped me with many other aspects of my current life. I’ve realized that many parts of my life are made that much more simple if I communicate a problem or my needs to whomever it is that I am speaking. As an example of this, for my college applications and my school emails, I’ve reached out on topics or assignments, which is something I wouldn’t do before and I found myself doing this more frequently.
For the growth aspect of this program, I improved tremendously in the skills previously mentioned as well as my overall work in presentations and how I go about explaining and displaying my ideas and thoughts. I’ve seen my growth in my work and technical skills which every presenter and designer needs as well as through how I manage to actually send out the information that I wish to provide the audience. During my first round of presentations, I stuttered and lacked the confidence in my words, as well as struggled to work off of my thoughts. This has all changed through the several presentations I watched and commented on, as well as those I’ve conducted myself. My skills as a teammate and a coworker, as well as an employee, have steadily improved, in the fashion that I now know how work should be done and completed. I now know more than ever that taking initiative in any part of my work is not only important but crucial to success for the company and myself. WLG has done a lot for my knowledge and my abilities and I am excited to continue my journey at another company.
Being employed through the Work, Learn, Grow Employment Program has definitely helped me grow as an individual and gain new knowledge and skills. Two skills that I definitely improved in are my presentation skills and my collaboration skills. At the beginning of this program I did not like working in groups. But now I do like working in teams. Being able to bounce ideas off of each other was great for our planning process and definitely made our project stronger. This led my collaboration skills to grow and change my views on group projects.
My presentation skills also grew a lot through this program. Because of the constant presentations that we were doing, I was able to practice more beforehand and was able to get into the rhythm of it. I was not the best at public speaking but I definitely improved. I was also able to learn more about architecture and new things like zoning, site analysis, and how sunlight paths all affect your project. This program was definitely a big help for everyone involved. It is definitely something I would recommend and do again.