Zarja explains how living and working in Massachusetts made her more independent
Interning in the United States came with challenges for the Architectural Technology student but it turned her into a self-starter
beX student Zarja next to ladders

I’m in my fourth year studying Architectural Technology

My name is Zarja Krevelj and I’m in my fourth year studying Architectural Technology. At the start of my third year on the course, I got an email from my careers advisor about the Saltire Scholars programme and the opportunities they provide. It sounded like a lot of fun so I sent away my application. To my joy, I was accepted and entered the candidate pool. Waiting for the next stage of applications, I discovered beX and all the exciting placements they offer. beX appealed to me because they are a platform for sustainable construction which I am passionate about and what’s more, they offer placements all over the world.

I got involved in experimental research projects

This summer, I worked at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the United States with the aim of gaining knowledge in Trimble technology. Trimble is a technology company who have partnered with the University of Massachusetts to provide students with state-of-the art equipment like laser building scanners and imaging rovers.
I was able to gain more insight into mapping terrain with drones and surveying with GPS. I also got involved in an experimental research project that investigated the structural viability of New England timber species, such as Black Birch and Beech, in Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). When I arrived, the students there were already doing research into the material, so I joined in. Thanks to this, I learnt how the timber needs to be prepared before it is put into compressions and even got to produce CLT panels myself!

I learnt to be more independent

A challenge I faced on my placement was the limited availability of my mentor, however, I learnt to be more self-sufficient. I became more confident in getting in touch with people in order to progress my Trimble learning experience. I became more independent and was able to find resources to help my learning journey and my personal experience.

beX has improved my key skills that will help me in my future career

This beX opportunity has made me more self-sufficient and resourceful which are certainly key skills that will help me in my future career. The highlight of my placement has to be when I went as part of an Amherst conference to the Bensonwood facilities where they build structural timber components and host offsite manufacturing. This taught me how offsite manufacturing systems actually work and what their workflow looks like. Looking into the future now, I want to do lots more research on what Trimble technology can offer in reference to the sense of thermal comfort within buildings and airtightness. I’m extremely interested in Passive House design and I’m confident that I can link my passion of sustainability with the knowledge I am gaining of Trimble technology.

Make the most of your experience 

For students applying for beX placements in the future, my advice is to be a self-starter, be passionate about what you do and make the most of your unique experience because it will positively impact your future career!