SmithGroup Exploring Post

For over 40 years our Detroit office has run an Exploring Post program that provides high school students with the opportunity to "explore" the architectural and engineering professions while participating in hands-on activities alongside professional architects and engineers within SmithGroup.  Through workshop meetings at our office in the Guardian Building, the Exploring Post enhances the participants’ enthusiasm and passion in their field of interest and encourages the career awareness required for their success as they advance to college. 

We have an exciting program planned and invite interested students to participate! Anyone is free to join at any time within the program year. See our schedule for future workshop dates.

Don’t forget that there will be two scholarship opportunities this year! High school seniors heading into an architectural or engineering degree program who have outstanding attendance for all the workshops are eligible for these scholarships. SmithGroup Exploring Post offers an annual one-time scholarship opportunity and the University of Detroit Mercy will also be offering a scholarship to students who attend the UDM School of Architecture and Community Development.

Are you an instructor or administrator hoping to bring Exploring Post content to your school or program? Please email us!


Visitors to the SmithGroup Detroit Office are not required to be vaccinated to attend the workshops, but face masks are encouraged. If you feel an onset of sickness or symptoms, please refrain from attending the workshop.


There were three Exploring Post workshops in the fall of 2022. The first workshop, the College Information Session, featured representatives from universities that spoke about their architecture and engineering program offerings as well as about career preparation and planning opportunities for those heading into the design profession.

The Introduction to Architecture and Engineering workshops featured presentations and activities led by SmithGroup professionals. Among the topics of discussion were daily workflow, expectations, collaboration, and design challenges. The Introduction to Architecture workshop contained an overview of Architecture, Interior Design, Planning, Building Technology, and Site Design, while the Introduction to Engineering workshop contained content relating to Civil, Structural, Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing Engineering.  

If you were unable to make it to any of the fall workshops, recorded content from past years’ presentations is available for viewing below. Viewing the recordings does not count towards attendance for seniors interested in either of the scholarships, but they are valuable resources and context for the spring workshops.


The spring season will continue with our traditional hands-on workshops in the SmithGroup Detroit office and will dive into greater detail about the architecture and engineering disciplines at SmithGroup. They will feature discussions about tools of the trade, developing technologies, design coordination, construction, and much more! Below are some brief descriptions to consider if you’re interested in a particular workshop:

  • Structural Engineering – Have you ever looked at a building and wondered "How is it held up, and how does it stay up?" or "How does a building hold all those people and heavy furniture?" This workshop’s for you!
  • Site Design, Environment, and Sustainability – Just as important to us as the design of a building itself is where it’s located, the infrastructure that supports it, and how it takes cues from its local climate. Learn more about Civil Engineering and Urban Design in this workshop focusing on design at a large scale!
  • Electrical Engineering and Lighting Design – Whenever we’re in a building, we’re surrounded by devices, lights, and appliances that empowers how we live, work, and play. If you’re curious about how electricity gets to a building and the many paths it takes when it gets there, consider joining this workshop!
  • Architectural Technology – Though as architects and engineers we primarily work towards a set of drawings, the ever-evolving frontier of 3D software (Building Information Modeling) allows us to get there with increasingly realistic detail. Find out how we use visualization tools for architecture, interior design, and more as we build in a coordinated virtual environment!
  • Mechanical Engineering and Plumbing Engineering - Without the continued advancements of HVAC and plumbing in buildings, things would be rather uncomfortable and inconvenient to say the least! Find out how in this workshop! 
  • Building Tour at Racquet Up Detroit - This workshop will feature a presentation about the life of the Racquet Up Detroit project from conception to completion. A tour of the building will follow, led by members of the project team, and a unique activity will accompany the tour. This workshop will feature content and concepts from all the previous workshops.


This year’s Exploring Post season may feature a summer site tour or two, pending project progression and interest. SmithGroup will provide all necessary safety equipment and tour students around a completed local project. We hope that this forum will allow for the hands-on and immersive nature of the Exploring Post program to truly shine. Dates for these workshops may also be announced in 2023.

Exploring Post Schedules Spring 2023



OCTOBER 12, 2022

Robert Easter, robert.easter [at] hamptonu.edutarget="_blank" title="E-mail robert.easter [at]"

Dan Pitera, piteradw [at] udmercy.edutitle="E-mail piteradw [at]"
Noah Resnick, resnicnskkowalkow [at] ("_blank" title="E-mail kkowalkow [at]"

Christopher Stefani, cstefani [at] ltu.edutarget="_blank" title="E-mail cstefani [at]"
Karl Daubman, kdaubmanejensen [at] ("E-mail ejensen [at]"
Keith Kowalkowski, kkowalkow [at] ltu.edutarget="_blank" title="E-mail kkowalkow [at]"

Christopher Tremblay, cwtrem [at] umich.edutarget="_blank" title="E-mail cwtrem [at]" or taubmancollegeadmissions [at] umich.edutarget="_blank" title="E-mail taubmancollegeadmissions [at]"
Benjamin Ingall, bingallkkowalkow [at] (@)target="_blank" title="E-mail kkowalkow [at]"umichgavin.bonar [at] (.edu)target="_blank" title="E-mail gavin.bonar [at]"

Gavin Bonar, gavin.bonar [at] uc.edutarget="_blank" title="E-mail gavin.bonar [at]"
Melanie Swick, swickmmkkowalkow [at] (@)target="_blank" title="E-mail kkowalkow [at]"gavin.bonar [at] ("_blank" title="E-mail gavin.bonar [at]"




NOVEMBER 19, 2020
6PM - 7PM

Abi Aragon, abi.aragon [at]
Bryan Seef, bryan.seef [at]



DECEMBER 3, 2020
6PM - 8PM

Kelli O'Brien, kelli.obrien [at]
Anna Strong, anna.strong [at]
Steven Thomas, steven.thomas [at]

Susie Chung, susie.chung [at]

Kevin Hertig, kevin.hertig [at]
Rizka Aprilia, rizka.aprilia [at]

Robert Melton, robert.melton [at]

Maggie Hilgenkamp, maggie.hilgenkamp [at]
Maria Del Castillo Berrio, maria.delcastillo [at]

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