Our Students, Our Future — How CPL is Proactively Mentoring the Next Generation

CPL’s K-12 Practice team is committed to helping students thrive both in and out of the classroom—and this commitment is reflected in the many ways we share knowledge and engage with our partners, peers and neighbors. Lending collective expertise to school districts across the east coast, we make it our personal mission to help build students’ potential, which can become the cornerstones of entire communities.

One great example that illustrates this dedication? CPL’s continuing partnership with the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce.

For several years, we have worked with the organization’s Education to Employment Division to introduce middle and high school students in Livingston County to the diverse career avenues offered by the architecture and engineering (A/E) industry. From participating in the county’s annual “GLOW With Your Hands” event to presenting during “Lunch and Learn” workshops, our seasoned professionals strive to ignite students’ interests in the skilled trades and public service, opening their eyes to the robust opportunities that exist within their own backyards.

In line with this initiative, Civil Engineer Zach Anderson, P.E., was recently invited to speak at Avon Central School District’s (ACSD) 10th Grade Career Day. He shared valuable anecdotes about his own real-world experiences, reinforcing the students’ curriculum by detailing the wide spectrum of engineering project types and introducing some of the programs used to develop 2D and 3D project models; the presentation was one of many he has carried out in recent years.

“Today’s young learners will become the next generation of A/E leaders, so I think it’s important that we help them see ‘what can be’ with regard to prospective careers,” Anderson said. “If we keep students informed of their options, we can motivate them to pave their own unique paths to higher education, employment and success.”

For Interior Designer Courtney Ter Velde, IIDA, LEED GA, mentoring students is also about giving back to the community.

After CPL completed a Capital Improvement Project (CIP) for the York Central School District (YCSD) in 2020, our team, alongside YCSD officials, began to conceptualize layouts for a building addition that would accommodate a new science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) wing for York Middle/High School.

During a project site walkthrough, Ter Velde learned about two YCSD students, Katelyn and Ryan, who harbored interests in architecture, interior design and graphic design. She personally connected with each student and arranged one-on-one opportunities for both to learn more about their desired fields.

Katelyn was invited to spend a half-day at the CPL Rochester office shadowing architectural and interior design team members, while Ryan engaged with Video Production Specialist, Andy Schmitz, to become immersed in the world of marketing and digital media production.

“Katelyn learned how to use Revit, explored our team’s design library, and observed a virtual reality (VR) walkthrough of her own school’s STEAM wing, now under construction,” said Ter Velde. “If a student has the wherewithal to pursue self-teaching, we should invest in their professional development early by connecting them with meaningful networking opportunities and cooperative, hands-on learning experiences—that’s what CPL is all about.”

CPL’s ongoing mentorship efforts align perfectly with our desire to give back to the districts we partner with, which in turn, can end up positively impacting communities at large.

“Partnering with local leaders to build bridges and encourage new ways of thinking is a huge part of our K-12 team’s mission,” said David Sammel, RA, CPL’s National K-12 Practice Leader. “Working as a unified team, we’ll continue to build strong academic foundations that ensure students—and their communities—are well-prepared for the future.”

Jenny Hasbun works with the marketing team as an Internal Communications Specialist in the CPL Poughkeepsie office. She is primarily responsible for working with leadership, business partners and internal teams to write and edit content that establishes organizational messages and keeps team members informed of big-picture developments. She applies her exceptional writing skills toward developing and tactfully implementing communications strategies that inform, inspire and engage people across the organization and beyond.

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