OPN Internships Provide Valuable Experiences

Collegiate student internships are a valuable experience throughout architectural and design education. They offer an opportunity to experience company culture, get your toes wet in design and documentation of real projects, and gain a better understanding of where you might like to kick-off your career upon graduation.

At OPN, students spend the summer working on a variety of project types at many different scales. Students are fully integrated into a project team while learning about the multiple phases of the design and documentation process. They have the opportunity to attend internal and external project meetings, site visits, and learn from mentors in the studio every day.

You’ll get to know our team, our culture, and your peers throughout the summer. With weekly lunch & learns catered to you, you can step away from your projects and learn about anything, architecture and beyond. Plus, if you’re into ping pong, softball, volleyball, or staying very hydrated 😉 you’ll love spending the summer with a competitive crew and defending our Corporate Games titles in both Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

Don’t just take our word for it.


Since 2019, OPN has welcomed 21 student interns among our four studio locations from various colleges across the Midwest.

We recently reached out to hear about what they’ve been up to since their time with us and how their experience at OPN has helped them in both their studies and career pursuits:


Alice TosiAlice Tosi (Cedar Rapids Studio, 2020)

Alice is a fifth year architecture student at Iowa State University. She spent the summer of 2020 in our Cedar Rapids Studio.

Since then, her project team’s fall semester studio project, a regrowth, was selected as a finalist for the Kalaher award at ISU. View their presentation here: Regrowth | Death of Monumentality

In addition, one of her art pieces, “Quarantine Chic,” was accepted into the Art in Isolation Exhibit featured at Iowa State’s Memorial Union.

“My experience at OPN has helped me by expanding my Revit and rendering skills and teaching me valuable information about the architectural industry and workplace.”

Anannya DasAnannya Das (Cedar Rapids Studio, 2020)

Anannya spent her summer with our Cedar Rapids Studio.  She’s currently in her final semester of grad school pursuing a  Master of Architecture Degree at Iowa State University.

“Recently, I was recognized for nurturing and celebrating the vital role of building technology in architectural design with the Building Technology Educators Society (BTES) Ed Allen Student Award.” Last year (2020), Bazaar 324, a project she completed with a partner was recognized as one of the ASCA AIA COTE Top 10 for Students projects in the competition organized by the American Institute of Architects and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. This accomplishment led to sitting on the jury for the 2021 ASCA AIA COTE Top 10 for Students Competition.

Check out her 2020 winning project here: Winner: BAZAAR 324 – Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture

“I am grateful for the achievements I have attained so far, and the opportunity to intern at OPN Architects helped me accomplish some of these goals. At OPN, I gained a glimpse of the professional world that I look forward to stepping into soon.”

Braden CooperBraden Cooper (Des Moines Studio, 2019 & 2020)

Braden, a fifth-year architecture student in the undergraduate program at Iowa State interned with OPN in our Des Moines studio in both 2019 and 2020.

This year, he and his project team were awarded the H. Kennard Bussard Award through the architecture program at Iowa State for their project titled “Observing Air”. This annual competition recognizes work by 5th year architecture students displaying outstanding ability and creativity within the design process.

See their announcement here: Winners Announced for the H. Kennard Bussard Award


Calise GrittersCalise Gritters (Des Moines Studio 2020)

Calise interned with OPN during the summer of 2020 and worked closely with our Director of Sustainability, Tate Walker. Tate was able to provide her a letter of recommendation for sustainability-focused fellowships as she continues her education and career pursuit.

“I most recently was awarded the 2020-2021 Tradewell Fellowship at the firm EYP. I’ll be focusing on healthcare design and research, and will be joining their Denver office in June! I learned a lot during my internship at OPN. From seeing how a firm works day-to-day to getting to work on architecture and sustainability projects. Working with Tate on sustainability projects was especially fun, as it intersected design and research—two things I love. I appreciated how much OPN focused on our professional development during our time there. Our Thursday ‘lunches with Aaron’ were always a highlight in which we could have all of our questions about the architecture practice answered. The community at OPN is something special, and I am grateful to have been a part of it for a summer internship”

Carolan Hoffman

Carolan Hoffman (Des Moines Studio, 2019 & 2020)

Carolan spent the past two summers working closely with our Director of Sustainability, Tate Walker, on various research projects.

“This year I have had the opportunity to be in 2 studios now that have peaked my research interests and had an amazing discourse on interesting and important topics in architecture.  My experience with OPN has really helped shape the direction I want to go. It introduced me to more sustainability [integration] and brought new ideas and topics I began to feel passionate about. Overall, [the experience] pushed me to focus on sustainability and ultimately get my LEED Green Associate certification this past summer!”



Cody GoedkenCody Goedken (Cedar Rapids Studio, 2019 & 2020)

Cody is a fourth year architecture student at Iowa State University. He spent the past two summers working in our Cedar Rapids Studio.

“Last semester, I was able to collaborate and design a renewable energy center for my studio project which was nominated for the DLR Prize.  The project that my studio partner and I completed last spring (2020) was also voted 2nd place for the AIA Emerging Professionals competition.

My two summers with OPN provided me with experiences and resources that have helped propel my early design career.  They exposed me to a variety of different experiences that have taught me what it’s like to be an architect as well as what a people-centered firm looks like.”


Linh Huynh crop

Linh Huynh (Des Moines Studio, 2020)

Linh is finishing up her Master of Architecture at Iowa State. Last summer, she interned with our Des Moines studio.

“I recently joined the board for the Iowa Architectural Foundation. As the young newbie in the group, I’m quite excited to see how architecture can extend beyond the field of design and into the minds and thoughts of the public and for schools.

My experience at OPN was mind-opening. I’ve learned so much that I was able to carry with me through most of my studios.  I’ve also been missing my summertime experiences quite a bit, especially Thursday lunches with Scott, Bill, and Aaron, being the regulars.”


Maddie Bany1Maddie Bany (Des Moines Studio, 2018 & 2019)

Maddie interned with the Des Moines studio in both 2018 and 2019 before joining the team full time in January of 2020 upon graduating with her Bachelor of Architecture Degree from Iowa State University.

“My internship at OPN exposed me to a variety of project types, phases, and people, giving me a well-rounded look at what it’s like to work professionally. I really appreciated the patience and eagerness that the people I worked with had towards teaching me. I also really enjoyed all of the activities they catered towards the interns, such as site visits, project tours, photoshoots, lunch and learns and several different socials! I felt I was given a lot of responsibility and hands-on work as an intern that really helped me grow as a designer. I joined the team for a number of reasons. I appreciated the variety of projects types we take on. I’ve been exposed to many different building types which has helped me find what I really enjoy working on. The main reason I decided to stay at OPN was the people. I feel like my colleagues really push me to grow, and are always there to help. I have learned so much from them and I really appreciate that.”

Mae MurphyMae Murphy (Des Moines Studio, 2019 & 2020)

Mae spent her past two summers working on various projects with our Des Moines studio.

“I am currently in my 4th year at ISU. Recently, my ARCH 401 project was selected as the winner of the B.Arch Integrated DLR Group Prize! The project, On the Butcher’s Block, was from Shelby Doyle’s studio with partner Cameron Wahlberg. The project is focused on looking at buildings in terms of ‘butchering’ and how we can re-use existing materials in the construction economy. Some of the renovation/preservation/construction concepts in that project stems from my time at OPN and experiences I had on those types of projects. Here is a website link for the project: On The Butcher’s Block

I am also a part of Datum, the ISU Journal of Architecture. This semester I started a new initiative: Datum Discourses. This was created to facilitate virtual conversations with alumni, professionals, professors and students on topics such as grad school, portfolio advice, working in a firm, mental health, academia, professional networking, etc. OPN’s Danielle Hermann will be joining Datum Discourses with Associate Professor Rob Whitehead, Morrill Professor Thomas Leslie, and ISU alumni Alyanna Subayno. They will be answering questions focused on working in a firm, academic careers, and professional networking!”

Paige Sivinski1Paige Sivinski (Des Moines Studio)

Paige interned with OPN’s Des Moines studio during the summer of 2017 before joining the team full time in 2019 after graduating with her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Iowa State.

“While I was an intern at OPN, I gained a lot of experience with site work at the Iowa State Capitol dome and on a few other projects. My experience at OPN was my first internship, and taught me quite a bit about the ins-and-outs of a firm: how the software works, how important site visits are, setting up documents, working with contractors, etc.

I had such a great time during my experience as an intern, and my team members were so helpful answering questions and helping me learn that it would have been hard to imagine myself working anywhere else after graduating college. It felt like I was coming home when I was offered a position here.

Tom Goetz1

Tom Goetz (Des Moines Studio)

Tom interned with OPN during the second year of his Master’s program at Iowa State before joining the team full time in the summer of 2020.

“Interning at OPN was a great introduction architecture. Despite being new, everyone was receptive to questions, softening the landing into a new field. I was quickly integrated into a couple real world projects, where I was trusted with various responsibilities, all the time feeling like I was a part of a team. My teammates were encouraging when I was having trouble and stayed positive throughout my internship experience. They believed in me and are the primary reason I am working here today!”