Graduate School & Degree
I am currently enrolled in the University of Oregon’s school of Architecture and Design. At the moment I am working on a project for the COTE (Committee on the Environment) Top Ten Student Design Competition, which focuses on architecture that speaks directly to integrating ecological processes with buildings, landscapes, and communities. Since graduating from Ursinus, I have been studying and designing practical ways in which to use built forms and urban environments to express my passion and admiration for the ecology and the natural landscapes that I interact with. For a short period of my life I found myself dramatically opposed to urban settings and landscapes that seemingly lacked visible nature. But immersing myself in the study of these places and opening up to the opportunity of creating beautiful, functional and inclusive places has given me confidence in my role of helping people and places that I care about.
Impact of Ursinus
Upon entering architecture school, I felt slightly overwhelmed by my lack of understanding of the architectural design process and the inherent abstract expression that I found myself having to demonstrate. However, I felt quite confident and comfortable with the systems thinking and analytical design processes that are so pervasive in the discipline of architecture. While I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, the teachings of interdisciplinary critical thinking and problem solving that I acquired through my environmental studies education at Ursinus has had a huge impact on my current education as well as tremendous influence on how I think about the world around me. Each day I am challenged with thinking about and analyzing integrated systems and how specific aspects of those systems have implications toward social, cultural, economic, experiential, and ecological qualities of a building, a neighborhood, or a community. A lot of my design process, while certainly oriented toward environmental sustainability, is also focused on indulging the needs and values of communal and regional occupants of a given place. Its very easy for me to say that my Ursinus education transformed my way of thinking, and without it I don’t think I would be able to fully engage in the issues that I am so interested in today.
Piece of Advice
I think that individuals frequently look at education as a means to an end. Too often it seems as though money and perceived success drive both academic and professional decision making. My advice is to fully engage in the things that you are passionate about and try to both enjoy and value the current stage of your individual learning process. I think part of what makes that process successful is confidence in yourself and the things you are interested in, as well as always aiming to have a positive mindset.