October 21, 2014

Providing young people with a window into the “real world” of work and showcasing the many, diverse career paths they can pursue were key goals of DPR’s recent Seven Tepees career day in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy Kedyn Sierra

The fourth annual Career Day brought together nearly a dozen high school youth and Seven Tepees staff members with several DPR employees. Throughout the day, employees shared their personal journeys that led them into their careers with DPR.

Steven Grandin, DPR’s Seven Tepees liaison and incoming president of its board of directors, spearheaded the event. It began with a tour of Autodesk’s offices at One Market Street (built out by DPR with Gensler Architects), where students had the opportunity to learn about 3D imaging, 3D printing and graphics development. They went on to visit a DPR jobsite at Pier 9 where they talked with project engineer Dylan Swallow and superintendent John Bloomfield. Next, they headed over to DPR’s San Francisco offices where they learned about the intricacies of creating a net zero building, LEED building practices and 3D modeling, and other things.

Photo courtesy Kedyn Sierra

Throughout the day DPR employees spoke with the youth about how they got to where they are in their careers. In some cases, those employees’ journeys and the challenges they had faced were similar to challenges confronting the Seven Tepees students.

One of the participating students, high school junior Kedyn Sierra, has been part of Seven Tepees for the past five years and plans to intern with DPR next summer.

“Having now been on two career days with DPR, I can attest that these experiences offer a sense of what the “real-world” is going to be like,” Sierra said. “Seven Tepees has brought me a new way of viewing my future. Beginning when I was in the sixth grade, this organization has helped me step out of my comfort zone in many ways that include immersive leading experiences. Personally, being exposed to the outdoors is what I’ve taken to heart from this program, because I do not have access to such locations in my everyday life.”

Seven Tepees high school program coordinator Ashley Allen was a participant in Seven Tepees as a youth, and then returned to the organization as a staff member after finishing college. 

“I am 100 percent a product of the many benefits of being in this exceptional program, from my knowledge and respect of the environment to my passion to giving back to the community,” Allen said. She received her degree in community studies from UC Santa Cruz with a minor in sociology. “I believe in life journeys coming full circle and wanted to commit myself to a space that was truly impactful to me,” Allen said.

The career day achieved its objective to expose the youth to possible careers and spark their interest in planning for their future, according to DPR’s Grandin.

“My main goal is teaching the youth about maintaining options,” he said. “The best plans don’t always work out, so you should have a backup. This day introduces them not only to construction, but encourages them to look at careers in whatever they want to pursue.”

Photo courtesy Kedyn Sierra