When Savannah Roberts hung up the phone after her interview with Michael Bodziner, she felt relieved because she knew they had created a bond over their southern roots.
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Having lived in Alabama her entire life, Roberts was anxious about applying for an internship on the opposite side of the country at the No. 2 architecture firm in the U.S., according to Architectural Record. However, knowing Bodziner’s hometown was just a state over in Georgia eased her mind.
Roberts’ intuition about the interview was right. She landed the internship at Gensler and lived in San Francisco in the summer of 2011.
“I expected San Francisco to be a really huge city, but it’s actually a small city,” said Roberts. “You can walk or take a short bus ride anywhere, and all the beautiful places I had seen on the Internet and in books I was able to just walk to from my apartment.”
San Francisco’s laid-back atmosphere matched Gensler’s easygoing work environment. Roberts could choose when to arrive at work each morning as long as it was reasonable. Being a morning person, she usually began her day at 8:30 a.m. with a huge cup of coffee.
A lot of long hours and late nights went into working on major design projects, such as retail stores where she herself liked to shop. With such well-known clients as Gensler has, being an intern for the company would understandably cause anyone to feel the pressure.
“Going into the internship I was really nervous about being everything they wanted because it is such a big name company,” said Roberts. “I wanted to do everything perfect, but when I got there I realized how prepared I was to do what I needed to do.”
It’s no wonder that Roberts thrived at Gensler. Being a student in Auburn’s Interior Design program prepared her well as it was just ranked by Design Intelligence as No. 1 in the nation.
Although Roberts found comfort in the interesting people she worked with and the hospitality of Gensler, at times it was difficult being so far away from the familiar.
“It was so far away from all the people that I know and my family and because I worked so much it was a little bit lonely at times,” said Roberts.
While she thoroughly enjoyed her time in San Francisco and would do it all over again in a heartbeat, Roberts realized that home is where the heart is.
“I liked knowing that I was coming back to Auburn,” said Roberts.