Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?
My first exposure to the curriculum was as a high school student through the Discover Architecture program hosted by the Illinois School of Architecture. I agree with quite a few others when I say that there is such a romanticism associated with the field of architecture, so the opportunity to engage with the ISoA program at such a fundamental, tangible level was beyond rewarding and one that effectively gave me the drive to commit as an incoming student.
Are you glad that you did?
It would be difficult to describe anything else for which I’ve worked so hard and, by result, valued at such a level as I do my Bachelor of Science degree from ISoA. I’m grateful to my peers and esteemed professors here; all of whom having made it increasingly clear that I made the right choice in choosing ISoA for my undergraduate education.
Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?
I hope to build upon my minor degree in Earth, Society, and Environment Studies to further my focus in sustainable design. Ideally, I aspire to partner this with my pursuit of design for broader social and equitable applications. Architectural expression is most harmoniously pursued with an urban and/or community context in mind, and I hope to carry this perspective forward as I grow within the field.
What did you do this past summer?
I participated in what can only be described as a pivotal 12-week internship with Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects, based in Chicago, IL. The degree of responsibility afforded to me by the professionals with whom I had the opportunity to work was unparalleled to anything I had yet experienced, and the passion each member of the WJW team brought to the office will continue to motivate me as I advance in my academic and professional careers.
"I believe in ISoA’s ability to create that foundation from which we as students can build our careers" - Nathan Mollway
Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?
I believe in ISoA’s ability to create that foundation from which we as students can build our careers. As with any field, I think it takes a strong sense of self and an effective set of skills to succeed, and I have confidence that ISoA provides its students the starting point to continue what is an evolving process of development.
If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?
If I had the opportunity to go back, I would hopefully take with me the understanding that your time and how you spend it cannot be replaced. I would take more time and care in understanding who I was as an incoming student and in what ways I wanted to advance. I think it was an effective self-evaluation midway through my academic career that really brought with it a reframing of personal goals.
What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?
I would love to gain experience in a multitude of spaces, and hopefully a wide-range of cities. In five years’ time, even though I cannot foretell where it will be precisely, I hope you’ll find me in a comfortably lit space surrounded by engaging peers and projects, each grounding me in the profession and surrounding community.
"Take the time to enrich your understanding of the field at every available opportunity, and reach out to your peers in the classes above" - Nathan Mollway
What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?
Understand that you will grow immeasurably as a student of architecture. Take the time to enrich your understanding of the field at every available opportunity, and reach out to your peers in the classes above.
What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?
We are our greatest resources; have that conversation with your professor, explore the studio spaces of a class above your own. Visualizing where you can go as a student in the school of architecture should require a broad perspective. I just recently learned something new about an architectural (software) program I use almost daily because a few days prior to answering this question I just happened to be discussing an irksome feature about the program with a fellow classmate that could be easily resolved. This is a minor example, but we can learn a lot from those immediately closest to us, if only we take the time to reach out.
Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?
I had the privilege to take two courses under the direction of Professor Jennifer Burns in my completion of ISoA’s architectural history requirements. She encouraged a comprehensive understanding of the great artists and architects who came before us, and the level of personal commitment and compassion she brings to her position is reflected in the high appreciation her students have for her work.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
This has been the hardest question to answer, surprisingly enough. Part of me wants to be goofy and write about my unparalleled love for banana cream pie, but I also want to maintain a professional profile. So, both sides won and you get this. Ultimately, I want to thank ISoA for asking me, and many of my peers, these questions, and I hope those reading gain a stronger understanding of who makes up the architecture program at UIUC.