A Conservation with our Drexel Co-Op intern Mia Zlupko

Mia Zlupko, Horgan Intern Fall of 2023

Why Horgan for your Co-Op?

My general interest is within spatial environments. As a product design major, everything is pretty handheld design, and I learned through school that I’m more interested in putting together a space. I knew going into co-op, I wanted to keep my opportunities open and to be able to learn whatever I could. The Horgan opportunity came around, and although it was labeled project coordinator, as I read more, I learned it was construction-related with corporate workspaces and renovations. I was interested in what I could learn. I found learning the process of spatial design projects exciting. I was looking for something that allowed me to learn what I didn’t learn at school. While I wasn’t seeking out something in the construction industry, I could see myself in this business’s procurement and design side. Learning about all the necessary construction steps proves very valuable.

Was being a part of the Gen Z generation a concern entering the construction industry?

While this wasn’t initially a concern, I started worrying when I realized there was a bit of an age gap between my coworkers and myself. I didn’t want to be perceived as naive or labeled with typical negative troupes of Gen-Z. I also needed to check my preconceived notions regarding the construction industry. Horgan is a female-owned and operated company, and, with that, has a strong desire to find mutual respect and utilize what everyone brings. I felt included and valued for a fresh perspective from the jump.

How important was it to be able to work in person?

After experiencing the confinement of Covid during my early years of college, I was eager to seek a co-op that would allow me to be physically present in an office environment to enable opportunities for better collaboration. From experience, it allows for more organic interactions and the chance to observe and learn from professionals in real time. Prioritizing an in-office co-op allowed me to break free from the virtual realm and gain the experience of being immersed in a real-life workplace.

What was your takeaway from your time at Horgan?

I see myself as a powerhouse independent woman. I pursue my interests without considering gender “norms” or “restrictions.”  My generation typically wasn’t raised with such strict gender roles, so being concerned about how I would be treated as a woman in the construction industry didn’t raise any red flags for me. After spending time with Horgan’s CEO, Leyla, and absorbing her passion for being progressive within the industry, I was even more empowered to believe I could hold any job within the construction industry. While I’m realistic about needing to prove myself as a young woman in an industry dominated by men, I don’t question that women can perform strongly and often superior in this field. My mindset is, “Why can’t I?” this is celebrated and empowered at Horgan GC.