Internship Experience: Jolene Kerr

Our summer interns have spent their final days with us and headed back to school

In EAPC’s Bemidji office, we had two great interns who worked hard all summer. They were often the first ones to the office in the morning, the last to leave, and could rarely be found away from their desks. They were committed!

Jolene Kerr (NDSU Architecture) and Mike Fogarty (NDSU Mechanical Engineering) with their last day desserts. We all liked to joke about their extreme height difference!

I shared my office with second year architecture student, Jolene Kerr, which gave me the pleasure of witnessing a beautiful mentorship take place beside me all summer. EAPC’s Senior Architect, Craig Clark, and Jolene made the perfect Intern-Mentor team – a 1991 NDSU Alum and a current NDSU student. Going from having my own office to sharing it with an intern might sound undesirable, but Jolene was the best office roomie I could ask for. We shared tons of laughs and stories these past three months; I couldn’t have dreamed up a more charming person to work beside. I think Jolene’s feelings were mutual. She told me,

“Thank you for sharing your office with me and always having the best advice and stories. You and Craig made the days so fun and entertaining.”

Melanie, Jolene, and Lauren at EAPCs Bemidji office

For me, the best part of sharing an office with Jolene was overhearing her and Craig share stories about professors they’ve had in common and how architecture school has changed and stayed the same over the past 28 years. Like peanut butter and jelly during production week. Apparently, that’s a thing. Plus, if you know Craig, you’re aware there’s rarely a lull in the conversation when he’s around. Craig’s sense of humor is hilariously dry and sarcastic which turned nearly every story he told into a comedic performance for me and Jolene! Jolene said,

“Craig was the best mentor/boss I could’ve had. He taught me about ADA, construction of various aspects to a building, how to communicate with clients, what it was like when he went to NDSU, and even just about daily life and his past experiences in the industry.”

Craig and Jolene

However, some of Jolene’s favorite memories of her time with Craig stem from his passion for nature. Craig is known for swerving to avoid hitting butterflies, lamenting over finding dead butterflies in the grill of his car, and slamming the breaks at the mercy of his passengers to examine animals eating other dead animals in ditches.

“I learned more about nature in one summer than I have in years – especially about butterflies!”

I wish every intern could have an experience like Jolene’s. Craig blew me away with his sincere interest in Jolene and his unwavering reliability. Jolene says her favorite part about having Craig as her boss was being able to ask him anything and having him take the time to give her a demonstration or tell her a funny story to explain his answer.

Every day, Craig bolstered Jolene’s confidence by showing genuine trust in her abilities and including her in as many facets of project delivery as he possibly could. In her short stay with us, she was able to be a part of pre-construction meetings with clients, meetings with contractors, and production meetings. Every time Craig had a site visit to go to or client meeting to attend, he invited Jolene. Because of this, she had the pleasure of meeting with a civil contractor and land surveyor who were extremely friendly and included her in conversations. They even took time to explain what they do and why and outlined questions they ask when meeting with clients. Through these experiences, Jolene was able to log over 400 hours with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) which will help her become licensed more quickly after she graduates in two years. Best of all Jolene shared,

“This summer has been one of the best summers so far. I fell in love with what I want to do, I had the best mentor/boss who taught me so many things in such a short time, and I had time to relax and enjoy the people I love. I am sad that I have to go back to school, but I am excited to be one step closer to graduating and becoming an architect.”

As Jolene starts her third year of architecture school at North Dakota State University, she will continue to work part-time in EAPC’s Fargo office. We hope she’ll have the opportunity to come back to Bemidji and work with us again next summer.

We miss you already, Jolene!