Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?
ISoA made the most sense to me when I was applying, mainly because it was both an esteemed program, as well as close to my hometown and in the state I've grown up all my life in.
Are you glad that you did? Why/why not?
I'm incredibly grateful that I chose UIUC, it's been an amazing steppingstone for my career and further reinforced why I love design of all fields.
Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?
I like to center my projects around public use and the site-specific context and environment. I believe that if any piece of architecture can be picked up and placed anywhere else in the world and make absolute sense, then it fails to activate the site it was originally designed for to the fullest.
What did you do this past summer?
I took my time this summer to revisit older projects and refine my skills within design. I haven't had my first internship yet, so rather than fall behind and let my breaks slip away to nothing, I put in the effort to make sure that my brain isn't getting rusty. I feel like this strategy has proved to be wonderful, as I always come back to campus the next semester ready to hit the ground running almost immediately.
"[ISoA has] been an amazing steppingstone for my career and further reinforced why I love design of all fields" - Marco Nieto
Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?
Absolutely. Everything from the faculty to the rigorous schedule is a small taste of a bigger career that I cannot wait to experience for myself.
If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?
The biggest thing I would say is getting involved in organizations and competitions my freshman year. I've learned a great deal from professional activities and working with others, and getting an early start on that kind of involvement really shows itself at a young age.
What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?
My current goal is to work in a big city, preferably New York City. Something about the deep culture, variety of activities, as well as large hub of inspiration of creativity is captivating.
What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?
Definitely manage your time well enough. If you have an hour or two of free time in between classes, instead of going home and grabbing lunch or napping, go straight to studio to make more progress on your projects. You'll thank yourself when you catch a mistake that takes a longer time than expected to fix, or when you do everything right and finish a night earlier than everyone else.
What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?
One thing that seems hard not to do at first in studio, is to compare yourself to other students. Some find it demoralizing to look around and see other projects that are subjectively better than their own. All that really matters is that you're willing to explore design in your own unique way and you aren't afraid of the results, regardless if it's good or bad.
Did you have a favorite professor from a previous semester? Who was it and why?
Both Professor Dearborn and Professor Stallmeyer have taught me a great deal my junior year. Whether it was architecture and the landscape or the city, they taught me to always push myself harder to meet my own expectations and to fail fast. Learning from your own mistakes and improving upon those as quickly and as efficiently as possible sets you up to be in the best position possible for the end of the semester when it all matters. My skills wouldn't have adapted as well as they did without them.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
This semester I've been lucky enough to say that I'm the president of NOMAS, involved in the professioal and philanthropy side of Alpha Rho Chi, graphic designer/researcher at Blackline Supply, as well as a graphic design assistant for the ISoA! You'll most likely find me or my work spread around the school, and I am always more than happy to help younger students whenever it comes to design.