July 28, 2020

For They’re Some Jolly Good Fellows! Rounding Out the 2019/20 Generation WV Impact Fellowship Program

McKinley Architecture and Engineering began our relationship with Generation West Virginia through their Impact Fellowship Program.  Generation WV is dedicated to attracting, retaining, and advancing young talent in the Mountain State.  Their passion about growth and development in West Virginia matched our own and there was zero hesitation to participate in the program.

Generation West Virginia’s Impact Fellowship invites tomorrow’s leaders to work, live and give in West Virginia by offering year long, paid fellowships at some of the Mountain State’s most innovative companies. During the course of a year, Impact Fellows work four days a week at one of their participating companies, while dedicating one day a week donating their brain power, time and expertise to projects in partnership with local nonprofit organizations.

After an incredibly exciting and thorough interview process, we were joined in July 2019 by two Fellows: Mikayla Starr and Dallin Evans.  It just so happened that Mikayla and Dallin were both graduating from their respective programs at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture.  Our Wheeling office welcomed these two Architectural Interns with open arms, as we were thrilled to have their fresh perspectives join our rankings.

Mikayla Starr is originally from Rochester, NY.  She attended Syracuse University for a five-year degree, and received her Bachelors of Architecture in May of 2019.  Not having been a part West Virginia in any capacity previously, she took a bit of a leap of faith by moving to Wheeling, and joining McKinley Architecture and Engineering as an Architectural Intern.

Mikayla spent her Volunteer Fridays working at the Wheeling YWCA, September 2019 – February 2020.  And then moved her volunteerism over to the Happy Goat Yoga Studio, February 2020 – present.  As an Impact Fellow, she was able to follow some of her passions in social justice and women’s empowerment.  As a member of the McKinley Team, she was able to provide her energy and skills while helping to design dozens of projects so far throughout the state.

When asked about her thoughts on the Fellowship experience and her move to West Virginia, Mikayla said:

“My favorite part about the Fellowship is the community I have made with the other Fellows, and with McKinley, and through my volunteering experiences.  I think this program is a great way to get plugged into a new community, to find a job you will love, and to work with some truly incredible people at Generation West Virginia.

As an outsider from New York, I really didn’t know much about West Virginia.  I have fallen in love with all of the outdoor experiences you can find here, and throughout the state.  I also have found the state pride that many people have here to be very endearing.”

Mikayla will be continuing on as an Architectural Intern / Assistant Project Manager with McKinley Architecture and Engineering, from one of our satellite offices in Wexford, Pennsylvania.

Dallin Evans grew up in Safford, Arizona.  Quite the adventurer, he moved to Southern Virginia University to obtain his degree in fine arts, with a philosophy minor.  And then made another move to New York to attend Syracuse University, where he worked toward his Master of Architecture.

Dallin’s Volunteer Fridays were spent with Wheeling Heritage, where he fine tuned his drafting and designing skills by creating renderings for developers on historical projects, and assisting them through tax credit processes.  As an Impact Fellow, Dallin was able to live out his passion for community outreach, all while utilizing his architectural skill set.  As a member of the McKinley Team, Dallin spent his time as an Architectural Intern, helping to draft and design multiple project types, ranging from historical restoration, to educational facilities, and everything in between.  He can also be hugely credited with helping to move the Firm forward with our 3D renderings and a Visualization Initiative.

Talking about his time in West Virginia and with the Fellowship Program, Dallin said,

“My favorite part of the program was being able to be part of a community of young professionals in multiple careers, who I could become friends with and develop alongside them.  I would encourage others to participate in [the Fellowship Program] because you become part of a community who cares about  professional development, while also giving you an opportunity to become involved and participate in the community.  West Virginia is a beautiful state full of natural beauty and wonderful people.”

Dallin, his wife, their son, and their new baby girl are all heading back to Arizona soon, to live closer to his family.  We are looking forward to his return to the greater Ohio Valley area in the coming years.

While this Fellowship season is coming to a close, McKinley Architecture and Engineering is looking forward to two new talented young professionals joining our rankings for the 2020-21 Fellowship season.  Onboarding for an Architectural Intern begins in August, while we have an Engineering Designer joining us in January 2021.  We are looking forward to our continued relationship with Generation West Virginia.