March 08, 2024

University of Michigan – Spring Break Shadowing Session with John Slinkman

Mentoring John Slinkman during the University of Michigan spring break shadowing session was a rewarding experience. His dedication to learning and passion for the field shone through every interaction, making it a pleasure to guide and support him along the way. Excited to see the bright future ahead for this talented MLA student! He shared his experience with us, read it below:

“While on spring break from the University of Michigan, I had the wonderful opportunity of shadowing Colleen and her team at inTREEgue Design.  I want to first and foremost thank Colleen, Ryan, Aubrie, Rachel, and Deven for allowing me into their workspace to observe and work alongside them for three days as I sought how projects were designed and implemented in a professional setting.

I found it fitting that my visit started off at the Baltimore Business Journal’s Mentoring Monday, where Colleen was honored as the 2024 Mentor of the Year.  I say this because before even applying for the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Michigan, I got connected with Colleen last summer and she took time out of her busy schedule to meet with me virtually and talk about the landscape architecture industry and if it was going to be a right fit for me.  Later in the year, when I found out I could sign up for a job shadowing program over spring break, I knew immediately who to put at the top of my list!

It was an honor to be there for Colleen’s award recognition and, as I’ve witnessed firsthand, she most definitely deserves it!  Back at the office, the team was so welcoming to me and I instantly felt like I fit in.  They showed me examples of the incredible projects they had worked on and discussed some of the intricacies of the industry, such as the pros and cons to each rendering software and how they approach the design process.

I had the opportunity to do background research on agrivoltaics and how it could be implemented into an urban garden in climate resilient schoolyards.  I also was able to work more on my AutoCAD and construction detailing skills on a proposal for a peace garden.  One thing that stood out to me was the willingness of Ryan and Aubrie to provide feedback on a project that I am currently working on for a class.  Being able to talk to professionals helped me understand what I needed to focus on in my designs and how different aspects could be improved upon.  On the last day, I went out on a site visit to the Cylburn Nature Education Center.  This was awesome to see how a design had been translated into a tangible entity.

All in all, this was a fantastic experience and I’m so glad that I was able to connect with inTREEgue Designs.  While my trip to Baltimore was brief, the real-world knowledge gained through working with the inTREEgue team will help in my progression through the rest of my graduate program and beyond!”

Intreegue Design is a licensed landscape architecture firm operating in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Napa Valley, California. We offer the added value of having expert horticulturists, forest conservation planners, Chesapeake Bay Landscape Design professionals and ISA-certified arborists in house.

Learn more about working with Intreegue and our Design Process.