Experience of an externship at GRAEF

By Andre Rosteing

“Last spring break was not your typical college spring break…no it was so much more, and one that played a part in my summer employment – albeit elsewhere. Fellow classmate Frank Zimmerman and myself spent the five days within GRAEF’s PLUG division (Planning, Landscape, Urban Design and GIS) I worked alongside two former professors (Larry Witzling and Stephanie Allewalt) and it was truly great to see their professional side compared with their roles in academia.

Frank and I spent the week learning what exactly the PLUG group did and their team of 8 (within a company of 300) welcomed us openly. We worked alongside a recent graduate of UWM’s joint M.Arch/MUP and it was great to see how quickly he was assimilated into practice, giving us both hope of that light at the end of our tunnel as well. We even got to sit in on a city planning commission meeting in Grafton, WI.

This externship definitely bolstered the little office experience I’ve accumulated alongside a very strong set of academic work. As I mentioned above it played an integral part in obtaining my summer internship at Northwestern Mutual this summer, working underneath their sole inhouse architect. During the interview process the HR recruiter and now my boss commented that they work frequently with GRAEF’s structural team – not the division I was in, but I’m sure it helped. The setting of the professional office environment was the most important step for me in this process – it really helped me see myself belonging there, and now I do.”