Third-year architecture student and Student Government Association (SGA) Senator Marcos Mercado is in the midst of a project that is very personal to him as an architecture major. For the past several weeks, he has been in talks with Illinois Tech Career Services to look into better options for bolstering the portfolios of architecture students. In an interview with TechNews, Mercado stated that he has “a personal interest in this matter as an architecture student. For me and the rest of the College of Architecture, my portfolio is incredibly important, and there are not sufficient opportunities for us to get our portfolios reviewed. We’re working on ways to fix that.”
Through his work and meetings with Illinois Tech Career Services, Mercado first had to address the biggest hurdle: none of the current staff members of Career Services have the background or are equipped to review architecture portfolios. Thus, unlike students from the Armour College of Engineering or College of Science, Illinois Tech architecture students oftentimes cannot get the same level of service from Illinois Tech Career Services. Thus, alternative solutions were needed.
Mercado was able to describe at least a few of these alternative options already, despite them still being in development. One option involves utilizing an online platform known as The Bridge, wherein students can register and connect with alumni willing to review portfolios, alongside forming mentorship relationships and even extending internship and employment opportunities. Students can sign up for The Bridge at https://iit.wisr.io/signup/. Another solution up in the air for this project is to bring faculty members from the College of Architecture to serve as volunteer Career Services advisors of sorts, fulfilling the same kind of portfolio reviews that this project is looking to address.
This project is just one example of a single senator’s work in one SGA committee. The organization and its various senators will continue to work to advocate for student concerns on individual, academic, and campus-wide levels. Mercado will continue to provide updates on this project as he continues to collaborate with Career Services. In the meantime, suggestions for this specific project or ideas for original SGA projects can be relayed to the organization at any time via email at [email protected].
Photo by Ethan Castro (He/him)