High School Students Raise BNIM Standards by Providing Fresh Perspectives on our Industry

High School Students Raise BNIM Standards by Providing Fresh Perspectives on our Industry

“For us, this is a way to open that pipeline and get younger students interested in architecture as a career path so that we can impact the diversity down the road. We recognize we have a problem, but you can’t fix that just tomorrow.”

- Will Trakas, BNIM Associate, Quoted from KCUR Interview

This summer, BNIM’s Will Trakas and James Baker collaborated with a group of eager high school students from the Kansas City area through an internship program called ProX. This program is a relaunched version of Entrepreneurship KC – an initiative familiar to BNIM because of experience serving as mentors in the past. The purpose is to create a regional hub for high school students to gain professional, hands-on experience that will support their growth and future success. Students in this program also participated in weekly professional development about financial literacy, a topic that most high schoolers aren’t taught in school.

BNIM challenged the students to explore how pre-fabrication, architecture, and Kansas City’s position as a logistics hub could be a strong new business solution to housing development. The students spent five weeks bringing these pieces together to form a business model with support from BNIM and their ProX coach.

“It’s cool to see students who are just starting high school understand and tackle some of the more complex challenges we face and come up with solutions. Their fresh takes on our industry give us clearer and perhaps more lofty expectations of ourselves. It’s also really great to see students from across the metro work with each other both virtually and in person. That teamwork between students from all different backgrounds is great to see.”

- James Baker, Associate, BNIM

Nearly 440 high school students took part in the ProX internship program, creating problem-solving proposals to showcase at Arrowhead Stadium for a chance to compete for a cash prize. These students also received a stipend and one academic credit after completing the program. Will and James prepared their interns for the final showcase by bringing them into the BNIM office to receive feedback on their presentation. Jodi Fortino of KCUR 89.3, visited the office to learn more about the ProX internship program. After the presentation, Fortino sat with the students and BNIM to talk more about the overall experience with the program.

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Photo Credit: Jodi Fortino / KCUR 89.3