Why did you choose ISoA to study architecture?
While looking for architecture schools I learned there is an important range between art and engineering embedded in every school's curriculum. I chose U of I Architecture because I saw it as a school that falls in the center of the spectrum. Studio classes provide a great opportunity to continue learning about creativity and design while construction and building science based classes prepare you to work in the field and design buildings that can function properly.
Are you glad that you did?
I am glad that I came to U of I because this school offers a number of opportunities to push myself. There is always another learning opportunity for those who want it. It almost makes me wish I was 2 people.
Is there a particular area/topic of architecture that you’re interested in?
I am Interested in almost all areas of architecture. I am interested in Sustainability, Construction, BIM, Development, Design and probably more that don't come to mind right away.
What did you do this past summer?
This past summer I worked as an BIM Intern for F.H.Paschen Construction. I was responsible for running the coordination process for a 25M dollar building at O'Hare, creating new standards for the company, Writing research papers about future BIM processes and anything else BIM related.
"[ISoA] has continued my learning and made it possible for me to get my most recent job" - Michael Cooper
Do you feel like ISoA is preparing you for a career in architecture?
Yes, the school has continued my learning and made it possible for me to get my most recent job. I cannot stress the importance of opportunity available for those looking to truly push themselves. Anyone can be ready for a great job after 4 or more years here.
If you could change one thing about your architecture education, what would it be?
I would say that I would prefer more building science classes. There is always more to learn as it pertains to building a great building seeing as new technology is always emerging. Also, I would be interested to see class credits provided for extra curricular activities that teach the students more about their prospective field.
What part of the country/world would you like to work once you graduate?
I am excited to hopefully move somewhere a little south of Illinois. Most of the fastest growing cities with some of the best jobs in the AEC community are to the south. I am looking at Nashville or Charlotte at the moment.
What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew that you know now?
Instead of focusing on your grades or GPA, focus on your personal development. I am not an A+ student but through hard work, dedication and pursuing my interests, I have been lucky enough to work at two great jobs for a total of 4 years. I even have gotten to work these jobs during the school year helping me grow with real world experience.
What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?
Dive into your interests as they pertain to architecture. I focused on learning software, which helped me in many classes reduce the time on projects. If you are interested in history of architecture, learn as much as you can and it will help you in many of your classes. Any experience is helpful
Did you have a favorite professor or high school teacher? Who was it and why?
I have two. At U of I, Professor Randy Deutsch has taught one of the best classes I have taken. He taught information that directly correlated to all of the work that I was working on at my job as an architectural intern. He provides useful information and is focused on the development of his students. He pushes them because he know what they are learning is important. My other favorite is my high school teacher, Dan Liepert and the applied tech teachers at Glenbrook South High school. He allowed me, and worked with me, to push myself and learn what we agreed would be important for my future. As a teacher responsible for 5 different classes and their curriculum, he is always busy. Yet he manages to continue improving his curriculum through dedication and a wanting to help all students.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I am always open to talking with anyone about their interests in architecture (or anything really) and helping in any way I can. Feel free to reach out to me and ask me anything.
Currently a junior in ISoA’s BSAS program, Michael Cooper is the Project Lead for the 2018 Race to Zero team. You can reach Michael via email at firstname.lastname@example.org