Merryn, Class of 2020, is studying interior design at Virginia Tech.
Q: How would you describe the culture at Hutker?
A: The culture at Hutker has an awesome mix of “get it done” and “have fun doing it”. The office creates amazing work in large quantities, but still maintains a light, collaborative office environment.
Q: How did you find this internship and why did you choose Hutker?
A: I came across Hutker when I was a sophomore and met Tom Shockey at a booth at Virginia Tech’s Career Expo. From that point on I knew Hutker was my goal internship and kept in touch through that school year and into the next. In September of 2018, I heard from the office that they had started the interview process for 2019 summer interns, and I jumped on it. I loved that it’s a residential firm that functions with the efficiency of a commercial firm, not to mention I was in awe of the homes they’d created.
Q: How did this internship meet your expectations?
A: Coming into it, I was told I’d be doing more than the typical intern work, and that’s exactly what I got. I have been trusted with deliverables for clients, presentations, and so many real-life tasks. I’ve gotten to be a part of lots of different aspects of the design process, from the initial inspiration boards to the final photoshoots, and I’m so thankful for what I’ve gotten to see and do.
Q: What was the most beneficial experience for you at HA?
A: Any time I worked on a presentation for a client; seeing feedback from the previous meeting and making adjustments based on their feedback gave me a really good experience for similar situations in the future. At school and in studio, the clients are imaginary and the feedback you receive is from professors and peers, which is so different.
Q: What’s the greatest challenge you’ve faced while you were interning?
A: My biggest challenge was getting used to the formats and styles of deliverables. There’s a specific way to set up Photoshop files, for example, so someone can come in and use it after you. I will definitely take the set up back to school with me though, it’s a much cleaner way to work.
Q: Based on your experience, what do you think it takes to be successful at HA?
A: At Hutker, be honest about what you love to do, and what your strengths are. You never know when it will come into play and when those outside interests will contribute greatly.
Q: Do you feel more prepared to enter the field of design after spending your internship with HA?
A: Absolutely. Hutker has shown me so much and grown my appreciation for design that I previously wasn’t exposed to. The mentors I’ve found here have also made me realize that the skills I’ve developed the last few years are going to be useful once I graduate, which is so encouraging.
Q: What is your favorite project you worked on so far?
A: I loved working on the Big Bluff photoshoot. It was neat to watch the photos come together. The process of photographing an interior space is so intricate, and seeing it finally come to life in a photo that feels just like that space itself is amazing. Plus, I got to interact with lots of local businesses while collecting the little additional details for the shoot.
Q: What is your favorite part about living on the Vineyard?
A: The Vineyard in the summer is like nothing else. I’ve loved finding a new beach or restaurant every week, biking, and getting some much needed down time on the weekends. Everything slows down here, and the island is full of people just enjoying where they are and who they’re with.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do during your time off?
A: Definitely being at the beaches or by the water. People don’t realize how incredible the natural environment is here, but there’s so much to see. You’ve got everything from the bustling harbor to the quiet coves. I’ve done plenty of picnics and painting on the beaches since May.
Q: If you were to give any incoming HA intern advice, what would it be?
A: As soon as you arrive, express what you’re good at, what you struggle with, and what you want to learn. The more experienced designers will help you grow and develop into a better designer, especially if they know where you are and where you want to end up.