Year graduated from UIUC: Spring 2017
Firm where employed: Stantec
Your Title: Architectural Designer
What are you working on these days?
As a part of the health studio at Stantec, I am working on a variety of healthcare projects including hospital master plans, cancer centers, outpatient care centers, and emergency departments. I am a part of the medical planning team and the design team, so we focus on integrating clinical functions with great design so that we can create environments for health and healing. I am also currently working on passing the ARE and exploring my new home, Chicago.
"I attended the University of Illinois for graduate school because I knew that it would give me a lot of experience in design & the technical skills to succeed" - Kelsi Stephens
How well did ISoA prepare you for what you’re doing now?
The Illinois School of Architecture did a great job preparing me for my current job. I attended the University of Illinois for graduate school because I knew that it would give me a lot of experience in design, but also the technical skills to succeed. In addition, graduate school allowed me to grow my professional skills such as communication, collaboration, and networking. It is this balance that really makes ISoA a school that prepares students for a career in architecture.
What one piece of advice would you give to our current architecture students?
One of the most important things you can get out of school is just being involved. Make time outside of studio to be a part of student organizations like AIAS, be an active member on campus, and attend as many lectures and events as you can. You will meet a variety of different people and develop different skills than you do in the classroom. This is invaluable experience that will make a difference and set you apart when you graduate.
Name something you miss about school?
Projects without a budget and having friends around all the time.
Something you don’t miss about school?
Staying up late working in studio.
Caption: Kelsi's view from her desk at Stantec (see "Dream job")
Did you have a favorite professor? Who was it and why?
My favorite professor is Professor Worn. Professor Worn pushes you to challenge what is considered conventional, pushes you to ask questions, and puts his students in unique opportunities to learn from a variety of different people. He really goes above and beyond for his students, helping us to grow professionally and personally. Professor Worn's health studios gave me the skills, vocabulary, and confidence to pursue my dream job in health design.
If you could go back and do college over what would you do differently and why?
If I could go back and do college over, I would take more business classes so I would be better prepared for the business side of the profession such as managing project budgets, developing client relationships, and marketing our work. I would also take more time to focus on eating healthy, maintaining my mental health, and getting exercise.