Community Impact Meets Personal Impact


Written by: Annalise Maniscalco, Marketing Assistant & John Sloan, Land Planner

Have you ever felt the desire to work with your hands and create something from scratch? Have you ever had a relentless hankering for a delicious snack to get you through that mid-afternoon hump? Have you ever considered how you can tie your passion for gaming into a career path?

Joey Divencenzo has, and he told us all about it after shadowing our Institutional team for five weeks, focusing on landscape architecture as a means for learning more about the profession. We asked Joey some questions about his experience in our mentorship program, and the opportunity for him to gain hands on experience.

What’s your full name and title?
My name is Joey Divencenzo, and I’m a student intern from Tallmadge High School.

Joey Divencenzo, Tallmadge High School senior

What part of your intern experience did you like most and why?
After getting a feel for the company culture, I felt like I could relax and really be myself. On the technical side of things, I really enjoyed working with the Lumion and SketchUp software. I was initially drawn to engineering because I saw new buildings going up at Kent State and I couldn’t help but wonder about that process and how engineers and architects turn ideas into reality. Lumion helped me better understand the process behind large scale projects. It turns computer-aided designs into 3D renderings that are strikingly realistic. It was my first experience on the creative side of engineering. Not to be forgotten, I thoroughly enjoyed the snacks available daily at Don’s Café.

What did you learn from your experience here? Is there anything you can use in your everyday life?
I learned that time management is essential. I accompanied Land Planner, John Sloan, on various site visits and learned that projects typically require a lot of collaboration and that there are multiple wheels turning at once. You must be able to manage the minutia of every project in a timely manner to effectively work as a team, I think that is transferable to several everyday situations.

Director, Travis Matthews, conducting a team meeting with Joey and Julio Williams, Senior Project Engineer

We know you’re a big gamer. Are there experiences you have had here that mimic or are like gaming?
Building designs in SketchUp and Lumion almost felt like I was playing a video game. Gaming is like participating in an alternate reality. In these programs you can essentially create any reality you want – I placed a giant teddy bear on top of a building and set the trees in front of the building on fire, just to get a better understanding of the program, of course.

How do you think the work that Environmental Design Group is doing at your high school (Tallmadge High School) is going to affect the student body, once complete?
I know Environmental Design Group is working with the School District on developing several concepts for the new high school athletic complex and, once complete, it’s going to bring more families to Tallmadge. Tallmadge High currently doesn’t have an athletic field, so students have been sharing with the K-8 middle school building. This athletic complex will reduce traffic at the middle school and make it safer for young students.

How did you like your work with computer modeling? What did you learn from that experience and can it be applied to your everyday life?
I liked it. I learned that it can sometimes take a long time to complete big projects. I can apply the skills I learned to design my own house. My parents just designed their “dream kitchen,” and with the skills I’ve gained, I would have been able to create a mock up to show them exactly what their kitchen design was going to look like in their home.

design documents
Joey learned new skills while interning at Environmental Design Group’s Akron office

What did you learn from your visit to our project at the Akron Children’s Hospital Considine Medical Office Building?
I learned the importance of multitasking. I couldn’t understand why we would visit a site just to take pictures of a plain parking lot. Then, I realized it’s because at any given time, there are so many projects at different points of development. It’s important to document the progress of each project for consistency and accuracy purposes, working just from memory isn’t an option.

Joey in the field on a site visit to the Akron Children’s Hospital Considine Medical Office Building

Were you given responsibilities enabling you to apply your knowledge and skills?
Yes. I was given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by turning a 2D sketch of a project we were working on in AutoCAD into a 3D model, then I added materials and people and made the buildings to scale.

How would you describe the work atmosphere at Environmental Design Group? Could you see yourself working here every day?
Everyone that I met was really nice and seemed to have a sense of humor. The overall atmosphere felt very energetic and supportive. I knew if I had questions or concerns, someone would be there to willingly help me out. I’m still exploring my options for the future and the direction of my career path, but I could see myself working at Environmental Design Group every day.

Would you recommend this internship to other students, and if so, why?
Yes, I would recommend this internship to other students who are interested in landscape architecture or civil engineering. This internship showed me what the day-to-day work life of a landscape architect is like and what I could truly expect out of a career in landscape architecture.

EDG Feedback — John Sloan, Land Planner at Environmental Design Group
Joey was very inquisitive about how the design process is approached. He has an interest in how Environmental Design Group takes a sketch and transforms it into a 3-dimensional world that is viewable in virtual reality. We were happy to have him as part of the team and to have the opportunity to teach him more about the profession and the types of impacts he can make with a career in the A/E/C industry.

John Sloan, Land Planner, shows Joey around Environmental Design Group

I appreciate having the internship program here because I find value in teaching and learning from students. This program gives students a better understanding of a professional work experience, while giving professionals the opportunity to discover emerging technologies and approaches from a younger generation. The internship program is just one of many ways that Environmental Design Group gives back to the community.

By exposing students to what landscape architects, engineers, planners, environmental scientists and marketing specialists do, students are better equipped to determine whether or not those career paths are a good fit for them. With this program, we are shaping future community impact people.

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