HMFH joined Fenway High School in their first ever Virtual Career Week to share professional experiences and passion for design with students looking to determine their future careers.
Located in Boston, Fenway High School provides high-quality, personalized education to a diverse student body. With a 94% minority student body and 75% at or below the poverty line, the school’s mission is to “encourage academic excellence and develop intellectual habits of mind, self-esteem, and leadership skills among all students.” Each year they put on a career expo for soon-to-be graduates to explore a variety of future career paths. Traditionally held in person, this year’s career week was held virtually with professionals in the Boston area to share experiences, practice interviewing skills, discuss career fields, and prepare for the future.
Fenway High School currently offers architecture courses taught by Boston Architectural College students and has partnered with Wentworth Institute of Technology to offer design related courses for college credit. With an established interest in the design profession, students were eager to participate in career week to learn more about what architects do on a daily basis and their paths to entering the profession.
Anthony Azanon represented HMFH as a speaker on the I Didn’t Know What I Wanted to Do After High School Panel. Five professionals from a variety of different industries shared their personal journeys and provided advice for the soon-to-be graduates. Through the presentation, the panelists and students connected around the shared experience of being first-generation Americans and discussed the nuances this creates when choosing a potential career path. From the inherent desire to uplift underserved communities to feeling pressure from parents and guardians, panelists addressed students’ questions and concerns, citing examples from their own experiences. Our own Anthony Azanon shared that he was drawn to his current career in architecture through his desire to better the community. Recognizing that underserved communities can be misrepresented in neighborhood decisions, he sees architecture as an opportunity to get involved and make a positive impact. Other panelists shared a similar sentiment and impressed upon the FHS students the value of pursuing a career that is personally rewarding.
HMFHers Andy Villalba and Leena Ismail participated in the Career Panel which specifically catered to students interested in the design field and solicited an overwhelming response from those involved. In an open dialogue with the students, the panelists discussed topics including diversity in the profession and the need to support and encourage students of color in their pursuit of architecture, the different architectural design tools, and each panelist’s favorite and least favorite part of a project. Participating in events such as Career Week that encourage young designers is a meaningful part of the culture at HMFH.