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Seventy-Two High School, College and Graduate Students Complete Their 2019 Summer Internships at DDC

DDC: Shoshana Khan, 718-391-1251,

(Long Island City, NY – August 16, 2019) The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo today addressed 31 high school and 41 college and graduate students at a closing ceremony to mark the conclusion of their technically oriented paid summer internships. Interns were mentored by DDC professionals in various divisions and attended site visits to get a hands-on experience and an in-depth understanding of projects.

DDC’s summer interns and mentors with DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo and DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis at the 2019 Closing Ceremony

“Internships expose students to the type of work that supports a student’s desired career, which is what we strive to provide to our interns here at DDC,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “We hope that these students will return to DDC to pursue their careers in infrastructure and public buildings to make the City an even better place for the people it serves.”

“Every year we give more and more students the chance at an internship that could change the trajectory of their careers,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong. “I am glad that our collaboration with DDC is helping to cultivate the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture/Arts innovators. Through SYEP teens and young adults have been exposed to everything from crime scene forensics to computer coding to advertising. I could not be more proud of leading an agency that supports a program that has been instilling confidence, a strong work ethic and important skills in hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for the past 56 years.”

“We are extremely proud of all of our high school and college interns and I have no doubt that our students will succeed in their future education and professional endeavors,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis. “This internship is a unique opportunity that will contribute to the growth of our students. It is our hope that many of our interns will bring their expertise back to DDC so that they can contribute to the greatness of the City.”

“Each intern completed an exit interview, highlighting their experiences here at DDC and the feedback has been enlightening, encouraging and insightful,” said DDC Human Resources & Staff Development Associate Commissioner Dalela Harrison. “Analysis of the exit interviews indicated that 85% of interns agreed that the assigned work was valuable in relation to their current studies, 87% of interns indicated that they’d intern at DDC again, 90% of interns agreed that they’d intern with their immediate supervisors again, 98.2% said that the supervisors made themselves available to address questions and concerns and 100% of interns mentioned that they wanted to visit more project sites.”

DDC’s 2019 high school interns with DDC Infrastructure Executive Director Jorge Tua and his project team at Gateway Estate Phase E

Each DDC summer intern was assigned a professional mentor from various divisions within DDC, including Program Delivery, Design, Construction Management, Capital Budget & Payments, Program Administration, Safety & Site Support, Pubic Buildings, Applications Support, Civic/Uniform Structures, Architecture & Engineering, Office of the Chief Architect, Percent for Art and Health and Safety.

This was the fifth year of DDC’s High School Summer Internship program, which has mentored 143 high school students to date. There were 18 female and 13 male interns in the five-week program, representing each borough as well as 17 public and 3 private high schools. DDC received 384 applications from high school students all over New York City.

High school interns attended numerous project sites including the new firehouse for Rescue 2, reconstruction of Corona Plaza in the Bronx and north Queens, phase one of the reconstruction of the streets in Rosedale, reconstruction of Gansevoort Plaza and the headquarters for the Department of Cultural Affairs. This year students also took part of various workshops including College Peparedness, Resume Building and Mock Interviews to prep for college and future interviews.

DDC’s 2019 college and graduate summer interns visited the Ocean Breeze Athletic Center in Staten Island for a project tour

The College and Graduate Summer Intern Program is a long tradition at DDC, which began in 2004. There were 34 undergraduate and seven graduate interns, representing 22 different colleges and majoring in the fields of engineering, architecture, construction management, urban planning and sustainability design. DDC has mentored 477 college and graduate interns since the program’s inception.

Students were paired with a professional mentor and took field trips to different DDC project sites in Staten Island including a series of best management practice projects that use natural lands to mitigate flooding, sanitary and storm sewers in Page Avenue, storm sewer and water main replacement in Acacia Avenue and the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex.

Pamela Bernal, a rising junior at the High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture in Ozone Park and represented the high school interns at the closing ceremony, held today at DDC’s offices in Long Island City, Queens.

“I was blessed with a unique opportunity this summer and learned about many new and intriguing concepts including landscape architecture and the importance of improving and addressing the needs of the communities that make up our great City,” she said. “I also learned about green infrastructure like bioswales and rain gardens.

“I’ve realized my passion for STEAM and it’s my dream to become an architect. I hope to pay it forward, mentor and inspire other first-generation rising professionals, just like the mentorship and inspiration I’ve received from my supervisors and the large DDC community.”

Juwan Bennett, recently graduated from Ithaca College and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies with a minor in Fine Arts. He will be teaching English in Madrid for the next 10 months and will seek opportunities in Architectural Design and Art abroad.

“Through guidance from my mentor and many great project managers, I was able to get an in depth understanding of how to communicate with different people, consultants and stakeholders,” he said. “I couldn’t even imagine telling myself four years ago before I started college that I’d be interning for one of the largest design and construction agencies in the country.”

“This internship has helped me to understand the importance of asking questions, taking initiative and putting myself out of my comfort zone. Had I not been curious in the work and projects that other interns were involved in, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet a Percent for Art artist who showed me his creative renderings and proposals for an animal shelter.”

DDC student internship programs are conducted in conjunction with DDC’s STEAM education initiative, established in 2014 to create a diverse and inclusive pipeline for New York City's youth to engage in the architecture, construction and engineering industries. The High School Summer Internship Program is also organized in partnership with the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development. DDC STEAM also coordinates a middle school summer enrichment program that’s been shown to increase students’ interest in technical career fields and make them more confident in their ability to do math and science. Overall, DDC STEAM has served 3,633 students since its inception.


About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit