Focus Feature: Oscar Gomez

24 February 2022

When Focus responded to the racial justice movement in the summer of 2020, we committed to investing in organizations that were doing work in the areas of systemic racism and social injustice. One of the organizations we launched a partnership with was Chicago Scholars. Chicago Scholars supports academically ambitious, first-generation college students from under-resourced communities in Chicago and their seven-year program helps them to navigate the complex transitions into college, through college, and beyond to a career.

In the summer of 2021, Focus participated as a career partner in Chicago Scholars' Emerge internship program and our summer intern, Jermesha Martin, supported the Everleigh team while learning about construction. Shortly after Jermesha went back to school in the fall, we reached back out to Chicago Scholars looking for candidates for another open intern position. Oscar Gomez had recently graduated with a B.S. in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and was a perfect fit for the position. He started with us in late October and has been hard at work ever since. Take a moment to get to know Oscar and learn more about his experience with Chicago Scholars!

Tell us a little about yourself and your family:

I am first generation college student whose experiences growing up between Mexico City and the USA informed my curiosity for architecture and its impact on the cities’ culture and social fabric.

Where did you go to school, why did you choose to go there, and how did you select your major?:

My alma mater is Washington University in St. Louis, Go Bears! WashU has a strong architecture and design program which persuaded me to go there.

How did you get in involved with Chicago Scholars and why did you choose to participate in their program?

I joined Chicago Scholars because of my academic advisor’s insistence to join the program. The program’s seven-year plan, with two years of career advising and professional development post-graduation made it quite enticing.

What are the most impactful ways that Chicago Scholars has supported you over the course of the program and how did they help you navigate the uncertainty of the last few years?

Chicago Scholars has been helping me pave the way to college acceptance, accessibility and then college completion. They have been a key component in my personal and future career development. In the chaos of the pandemic, Chicago Scholars helped me plan for my next step after graduation, which is how I got involved here with Focus.

If a younger student were to come to you and ask about Chicago Scholars, what would you tell them?

I would suggest to any high school student to apply to Chicago Scholars. It would not hurt them to have a network of professionals invested in their success.

What sort of projects are you working on here at Focus?

During my time at Focus, I have worked on Domaine and Lumen projects. I have completed the reorganization of the narrative specs document, taking area measurement using Take Off, and organized project presentations.

What have you learned so far since you started here?

During my time at Focus, I have learned of the even greater amount of organizational, diligence and leadership it takes to bring a building design to reality.

Where do you see your career path going and do you have any immediate or long-term goals for yourself?

I am considering pivoting into careers focused on design thinking and design research. An immediate goal is exploring opportunities in industrial design or product development.

To learn more about Chicago Scholars, their programs or the other work they do for the Chicago community, click here. If you are interested in learning more about Focus, please reach out today.

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