Home-Articles Posted by Robert Vaughan (Page 3)

Posts by Robert Vaughan

Students from Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design and the School of Performing Arts joined forces recently for a day of music and architecture on the Drillfield. Crowds gathered on the Drillfield throughout the day to watch a series of performances that were part of Unlikely Ensembles: Design-Build Experiments in Architecture & Music, a collaboration between the School of Architecture + Design and the School of Performing Arts.

Nicole Paglialonga  Instructor for Survey of Music and Director of String Project explained, “The structures were designed to allow people interact with space in a new way. We wanted the musicians to interact with their audiences in a neutral way, with less division between performers and audience members.” Paglialonga met Kevin Jones, a visiting assistant professor in architecture, through new faculty orientation, and the two decided to collaborate. “We wanted to design a project around music education spaces, so Kevin brought his third-year class over. They looked at our facilities. In their course, they’re designing an ideal space for music education. This Drillfield experiment was meant to be a fun breakaway project, all done this week. It was our grand experiment; we wanted to see what could happen.”

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”24″ gal_title=”Architecture + Music”]

The architecture students created three distinct types of spaces for the performers.

One space created for smaller groups such as quartets was called R2 (Ribbon Squared). Third-Year Architecture Student Tyler Peterson explained the concept, “Our inspiration was continuous ribbons, designed for smaller ensembles, such as quartets. We had the idea of continuity, bringing the audience and players together, breaking down the separation. The platform has undulations to create a disorganized rhythm that can change the performances. The time of day, for example, changes each performance. The arc of the sun through the day can affect where musicians are going to play. The undulating levels change interactions with space.”

“Trees” was the space created for larger ensembles of up to 20 musicians, including wind, percussion, and string instruments. Third-Year Architecture Student Lindsey Blum said, “Our concept was forest in a field. We created a shading device. We laser-cut sheets of wood to recreate the light play that happens when you’re walking under trees.”

The smallest space, “Pickup Sticks” created a more intimate-feeling space for performers. Breanna LaTondre, a third-year architecture student said, “In Pickup Sticks, we placed wooden slats at different angles so the musicians could feel sheltered. (The clarinetist did say she felt safe there.) We wanted to allow outdoor performances that attracted audiences. We wanted to find a way to create an actual audience. As they walked by, for example, they could glance through the walls.”


IMG_0773 (small)Jud Froelich of Richmond, Virginia is a fifth-year student double-majoring in Studio Art and Russian. Froelich grew up in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. After graduation in the spring, he plans on staying in the Blacksburg area and working for a year while continuing to create and exhibit artwork.

You moved around a lot growing up. Tell me about it.

My parents work overseas doing humanitarian work and have done so since I was 2 years old. We lived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for 13 years, and then moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Growing up overseas was a wonderful experience, which has given me a good perspective on life. I grew up speaking Russian (and English) because Kyrgyzstan had just gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and still had a heavy Russian influence. The country is small, but beautiful. It has gorgeous mountain ranges which are ideal for camping. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from camping in the mountains.

When our family moved to Chiang Mai, I was going into 11th grade. The culture is very different from Kyrgyz culture, and felt very foreign to me during my time there. People are very reserved and friendly. Thai people also treat time very differently from the way we treat it here in America. People can show up to events an hour late and still be “on time.” My parents and my youngest brother still reside there, while my older brother, younger brother, and I live in the U.S. It is hard being apart at times, but that is just part of growing up and becoming independent.

So where do you consider home?

I consider Kyrgyzstan to be my “home,” but this word is a difficult one when it comes to people like me. Is “home” where you live currently? Is it where you grew up? After many years of traveling, I have come to understand that “home” is wherever the ones you love are.

Why did you choose to major in Studio Art and Russian?

I was led to Studio Art because I enjoy creating things and communicating visually. I grew up speaking Russian, so I wanted to continue studying the language.

What is your favorite thing about your major?

We are given the freedom to challenge our culture and to create in ways that no one has ever created before. I love how we are able to experiment and explore without restrictions. There is no right or wrong answer in Studio Art.

Tell me about your most recent project. 

I worked on a project that involved printing large-scale image code. I was interested in the relationship that computers have with images. To a human, a painting or a drawing has spiritual qualities and emotional ties. However, a computer views Irunewal’s Isenheim Altarpiece simply as lines of pixel information that it needs to output a display. In order to emphasize this point, I created single lines and brush strokes on various materials, scanned those marks into the computer and printed the resulting code on a large-format printer. The tiny marks were then displayed next to the giant prints.

What was your favorite part about working on this project?

I was able to use large-scale prints. I haven’t worked with prints this size before, and I enjoy learning new creative techniques.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on manipulating an inkjet printer in order to create unique digital prints. I am interested not only in the prints themselves, but also the performance that goes on as I fight with the printer to create the prints.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I would take my fiancé to Thailand, to visit my family.

A robotic arm is used to fabricate an object.The international “Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art, and Design” convention was recently held in Sydney, Australia, at the 3rd Biennial International Convention on Robotic Fabrication in Architecture Art and Design (RobArch2016). Virginia Tech was the only university to host a workshop independent from an Australian academic institution. The workshop included 13 practitioners and students from all over the world.

This was also the first ever public deployment of the new Autodesk Dynamo-to- Robot plugin that was developed from a collaboration between the Virginia Tech’s Center for Design Research and Autodesk.

The arch the team created using the new plugin is about 4M across and 3M tall — all parts individually customized through robotic fabrication. There were a couple thousand visitors at the exhibition of the work and it will be the feature of another exhibit in Sydney in a month.

A studio portrait of Andrew McCoy holding an antique teacher's bell.

Andrew McCoy, Myers-Lawson School of Construction, with a family heirloom teachers’ bell.

Andrew McCoy’s journal article “Resilient Built Environment: New Framework for Assessing the Residential Construction Market” has been selected as the Best Journal Article of 2015 in the Journal of Architectural Engineering. The award was announced at the during the Architectural Engineering Institute’s forum April 1, during the awards banquet.

McCoy’s article abstract:
The U.S. has a long- term goal to reduce 50% of energy usage in buildings based on 2010 consumption levels. Energy efficiency is often measured by laboratory experiments or computational simulation. Thus, there is little to no quantifiable evidence showing the extent of energy efficiency homes can achieve within the larger context of green building standards. The objective of this research is to identify actual home energy performance as an effect of green building technologies through comparing energy use from real-world observations and energy modeling. Findings indicate a significant reduction of energy consumption at 43.7% per unit or 43.4% per square foot (i.e., 0.093 m2) and substantial financial savings at $628.4 per unit or $0.80 per square foot (i.e., $8.6 per m2) annually. Savings account for 2% of median annual household income or 46% of energy cost expenditures for an American home. Findings also identify the construction type as a significant factor yet building technology is not the only factor influencing a home’s energy efficiency. This research addresses key policy issues related to Energy Efficiency (EE), affordable housing, and the sustainable environment.

About Andrew McCoy:
Andrew Patton McCoy, Ph.D. is the Preston and Catharine White Endowed Fellow and Associate Director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction (MLSoC) and the Director of the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) at Virginia Tech. He lives in Southwest Virginia with his wife and two daughters.
When not with his family, he is Associate Professor of Building Construction in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, a joint venture of the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture and Urban Studies which focuses on inter-disciplinary, multi-departmental (Building Construction, Vecellio Construction Engineering & Management graduate program in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Construction Engineering undergraduate program) outreach, research and education. The School serves the full life-cycle and supply chain across all sectors of the Industry.

Associate Dean for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and Associate Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning Sonia Hirt’s Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation caught the eye of two publications’ top book lists since the holiday season.

Her work was published in December 2014 by the Cornell University Press.

“Though Hirt often does not hide her bafflement, Zoned in the USA is that rare book that has a perspective but not an agenda,” Josh Stephens of Planetizen wrote. “It likewise carries the heft of research but is compelling, and convincing, enough – sometimes just barely – to be one of the more enjoyable scholarly texts on what can be a dreadfully dull topic.”

Planetizen is a news website that covers planning, design, and development issues. Every year, they choose the best ten books on these subjects. They base the list on a number of criteria, including editorial reviews, popularity, number of references, sales figures, recommendations from experts, and the book’s potential impact on the urban planning, development, and design professions. You can find Planetizen’s full review of the book here.

“[Hirt] provides a succinct overview of the history of zoning in the US,” D. Schultz from Choice Magazine said. “The book tells the story of how local, state, and federal governments have contributed to the use of zoning to preserve the single-family detached home, connecting zoning to other politics, such as transportation and home loan financing. This is a terrific book for collections on housing, land-use, zoning, and law.”

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries is a publication of the Association of College & Research Libraries. Choice publishes a list of Outstanding Academic Titles every year that are chosen from titles that were reviewed by the magazine during the previous calendar year. This list draws attention from many in the academic library community. The list this year includes 606 titles in 54 disciplines and subsections.

Zoned in the USA previously received Honorable Mention for The Urban Affairs Association (UAA), the international professional association for urban scholars, researchers and public service professionals, Best Book in Urban Affairs Award.


12484755_10208864539396075_3531963943466157537_oKevin Lee of Vienna, Virginia is a fourth year architecture student. His favorite part about his major is having the flexibility to explore different mediums, concepts, and overall architecture. He hopes to travel more after he graduates in order to see Asian and European architecture, but ultimately wants to receive an architecture job prior to working on licensure.


What is your favorite color?

Orange. Growing up, I was always under the impression that I didn’t have a favorite color. It wasn’t until middle school that I realized I always had an affinity for metallic or burnt orange.

What led you to your major?

My father is an architect, so I was exposed to the field of architecture growing up. My older brother also recently graduated from the architecture program at Tech.

What made you choose Virginia Tech?

My brother actually studied architecture at Virginia Tech, so I got the opportunity to actually see the studio environment whenever I visited him. Seeing the atmosphere and studio culture and Tech plus the fact that Tech’s architecture program was one of the top programs in the nation led me to choose Tech.

Tell me about your most recent project. 

I was in a collaborative studio led by Chip and Nathan King that worked on the conceptual design of an Ecopark for the Prince William County Landfill. We initially worked individually to create our own proposals, but gradually we combined overall concepts and designs to compose three uniquely different proposals for our Prince William County Landfill clients.

What was your favorite part about working on this project?

Working collaboratively with my peers and actually meeting with the clients to ascertain their needs and desires for the facility. Working collaboratively because I got the opportunity to learn specific skills from some people that really excelled in specific design areas. Meeting and working with actual clients because it reminds me of the fact that architecture had a human dimension that cannot be ignored. Most architecture should be people-oriented, because of the fact that they are to be inhabited, utilized by, or studied by people.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Typically, I would say Taiwan because I love vacationing in my parents’ home country, but right now I would say Braunschweig, Germany because I am actually studying abroad at TU Braunschweig this upcoming semester. I’m going with some of my architecture friends, and ultimately it’s because I want to experience German architecture firsthand, in addition to receiving an architecture education from a different culture and environment than what I am used to.

Is there anything else you’ve worked on that you’d like to share?

One project I recently worked on and completed was the phase 2 of the Sharon Baseball Fields with Virginia Tech’s design/buildLAB from 2014-2015. The design/buildLAB was a project-based experiential learning program where Virginia Tech architecture students designed and actually constructed two baseball fields, a press box, four dugouts, and two backstops for the Alleghany County Little League. This project was one of the most influential experiences in my architectural education because I not only learned more about the practical nature of architecture, but I also experienced the entire design and construction of a project intended to revitalize the local community through architecture.

Starting with the design, construction, and deployment of the Lo-Fab Pavilion, which is scheduled to remain on the Boston Greenway throughout the summer of 2016, the Virginia Tech Center for Design Research embarked on a collaborative research program focused on the potential for computational design and digital fabrication to inform new opportunities for wood construction.

This research, a collaboration between the Center for Design Research at Virginia Tech, MASS Design Group, Autodesk, and Rudabega with contribution from BuroHappold Engineering, serves as the impetus for the development of new computational tools, robotic fabrication techniques, and applications of short span wooden members in long span structures.

Faculty Nathan King and Chip Clark, along with Master of Architecture students Jason Zawitkowski of Blacksburg, Virginia and Conor Byrne of Raleigh North Carolina, recently installed the pavilion at the Fort Mason Center for the Arts & Culture for the Reality Computing Summit, known as REAL 2016, in San Francisco, California.

The annual REAL event is a unique opportunity for industry, practitioners, and academics to come together through workshops, demonstrations, and lectures to discuss issues surrounding Reality Computing.

According to Rick Rundell, a Senior Director at Autodesk, “Reality Computing is about capturing physical information digitally, using digital tools to create new knowledge and new designs, and then being able to deliver digital information into the physical world by materializing it through various computer controlled processes or through augmented reality…We use the term “Reality Computing” to encompass an emerging set of workflows around the data required by 3-D Printing and also data that is generated for various kinds of spatial sensing technologies.”

The CDR Research Pavilion utilizes reality capture through the use of 3-D laser scanning technologies to evaluate and compare the final realized prototype with the original design model and the simulated deflected shape. The results of the analysis will be used to inform future developments in the robotic fabrication workflow developed at the CDR’s Design Robotics Studio at the CAUS Research and Demonstration Facility.

The prototypical structure is designed using a computational design workflow that links Atuodesk’s Dynamo with React Structures, and ultimately to the newly developed Dynamo-TORO plugin that is used to control the ABB robots within the CDR Robotics facility. This exhibition is an extension of what was presented at Autodesk University in November 2015.


“The opportunity to develop an applied research platform that links academia, industry, and practice is unique in our field. All too often advanced technologies are developed in a vacuum, but through the work on the Lo-Fab Pavilion and subsequent demonstrable prototypes we have been able to create a hub of collaboration that has led to the development of new tools, methods, and technology transfer for use in AEC industries…The CDR participation in REAL is yet another example of the potential for our research at the university to engage industry and practice at a high level on an international stage. “ says Assistant Professor Nathan King who leads the effort.

King will also present a lecture at the conference entitled “Reality Computing for Resource Limitation,” where he will focus on emerging opportunities for urban scale analysis through drone capture for use in the design distributed health care systems in Port-au-Prince Haiti.


amy1Amy Eliason of Ithaca, New York is a fifth year student studying Landscape Architecture. After graduation, she is excited to enter the workforce and see her ideas on paper become a built reality. She would like to work for a large multidisciplinary firm and potentially move out to the west coast. 

What led you to your major?

I have always loved art and knew I wanted to do something hands-on and creative. My brother is actually a landscape architect, so he influenced my decision when I was looking at college majors.

What is your favorite part about your major?

It’s hard to pick one. I would say a tie between getting to draw and sketch every day, as well as how collaborative and interdisciplinary landscape architecture is. We get to try on different hats on a daily basis. One day we’re civil engineers, the next we’re artists, and sometimes we’re environmental scientists. I love the interdisciplinary nature of this profession.

What led you to Virginia Tech?

Virginia Tech was the best of both worlds; I was able to get the experience of a big school with football and school spirit, as well as the intimacy of a small major where there is high interaction between the professors and students.

What is the most recent project you’ve worked on?

Our fifth year is dedicated to our thesis project. I am working on a 50-acre post-industrial waterfront site, Luyster Creek in Queens, New York. My goal for the project is to reconnect the community to the site’s rich geological and cultural history through a waterfront community park.

What’s your favorite part of this project?

Your thesis is completely up to you. I love how independent the work is and how you can gear it towards your personal goals and career interests.

What is your favorite thing you are involved in outside of your major?

I love being a CAUS Ambassador. It’s such and exciting time picking where and what you want to do in college. It’s rewarding interacting with high school students and their parents and sharing my genuine passion for landscape architecture with them.

May 26 to July 1, 2016

Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, CASA is an educational study abroad program established by San Francisco architects, Cathi and Steven House, and affiliated with Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies. The Center is a link between the past and the future of architecture and a way of making the environment a more thoughtful and sustainable place. Cathi and Steven are working diligently to instill in students a holistic view of what it truly means to be an architect, to help them gain a deep understanding of and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world. In an environment of lively debate, immersed in analytical design exercises, field trips and theoretical discourse, students will find their voices as thoughtful designers able to articulate their individual agendas to guide them toward their professional careers.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”23″ gal_title=”CASA 2015″]


Program Activities


— Design Charrettes

— Apprenticeships with Craftsmen

— Sketching & Painting

— Photography

— Group Projects

— Final Exhibition of Student Work

San Miguel

— Tour of the City’s Historic Center

— Tour of House + House Projects

— Visit Fabrica Aurora & Artist Studios

— Tour of the Historic Church of Atotonilco

Mexico City

— Tour of city’s Historic Center

— Luis Barragan Houses & Chapel

— Pyramids of Teotihuacán

— Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Houses

— National Center for the Arts

— Anthropological Museum

— Visit Work of Ricardo Legorreta

— Basilica of Guadalupe Church


— Diego River Home & Museum

— Teatro Juarez

— Museo de los Momias

— La Valenciana Mine

— Mercado Hidalgo


Program Location

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
San Miguel de Allende has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This beautiful town, rich in history, 17th century architecture, ornate cathedrals and charming cobblestone streets, offers the allure of a place not to be missed and never to be forgotten. Located at the geographic center of Mexico in the state of Guanajuato, this charming colonial city sits at an elevation of 6,400 feet on a vast plateau of rolling hills in the Sierra Madre mountain range. This beautifully preserved 470-year-old colonial city is considered by many to be one of the most picturesque towns in Mexico. Long known as an artists’ colony, San Miguel offers an extraordinary array of concerts, theater, and lectures as well as language and art classes. It has two famous art and language institutes, the Bellas Artes cultural center and the Instituto Allende. Other important buildings include the Biblioteca Pública, a privately funded public library, the Teatro Santa Ana showing foreign language and independent art films, and the Angela Peralta Theater hosting performances by world renowned artists, lectures, music and dance.

Mexico City
Perched at 7,400 feet above sea level in a dry lakebed, surrounded by magnificent mountains and flanked by two volcanoes that soar to 16,000 feet, Mexico City sits on the ruins of the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. This vibrant, elegant and charismatic city, home to more than 20 million inhabitants, is irresistible. Founded almost 700 years ago, remarkable remains of excavated pyramids, ornate colonial mansions, broad boulevards, bold public art, incomparable contemporary architecture and some of the best museums in the world are laced into parks and gardens, alive with a street life unequaled in Latin America. The vast open space of the Zocalo is said to be the second largest public square in the world. It is the city’s political and religious center, bordered by the enormous Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest church in the western hemisphere, and Cortes’ Palacio National, still the seat of power, filled with Rivera murals. This beating heart of the city is built on the devastated remains of the magnificent temple complex of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. As the center of power of pre-Hispanic America, the Teotihuacan, Toltec, Aztec and then the Spanish conquistadores all contributed to the city’s fascinating evolution, heritage, art and architecture. The extraordinary ruins of the Templo Mayor pulse with the pounding drums of living Aztec dancers, healers offering smoke cures and organ grinders, all interspersed with bold contemporary architecture from the likes of Barragan, Norten, de Leon and Legorretta.

Program Leaders

Steven & Cathi House, House + House Architects
For more than 30 years House + House Architects have crafted unique, magical, harmonious environments and intimate, personal architecture. Deeply sensitive to form, color, light, and movement, they create a spirit within each project, molded to the process of living. Their diverse body of work in California, Mexico, and the Caribbean reflects their passion for site specific, well-choreographed buildings. They have received over 50 design awards and have been featured in numerous publications including two monographs, “House + House Architects: Choreographing Space” and “Houses in the Sun: light movement embrace”. Cathi and Steven have lectured extensively in the United States and Mexico.

Steven and Cathi acknowledge the profound influence their exposure to cultures around the world has had on their work. They have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America documenting vernacular architecture. Their stunning book, “Mediterranean Villages: An Architectural Journey”, celebrates their investigations of Italian hilltowns, Greek islands, the Dalmatian coast, and southern Spain. In 1989 while searching for a stone quarry in Mexico, Steven and Cathi discovered the historic town of San Miguel de Allende. That was the beginning of a love affair with a place that has offered them new opportunities in the refinement of their craft. They built a home for themselves in San Miguel in 1993 and have since designed over 25 houses in Mexico.

Facilities & Accommodations

Center for Architecture Sustainability + Art
Located in the historic center of San Miguel de Allende, a series of four buildings are woven into gardens, courtyards and terraces to accommodate studio space for students. The buildings and the exterior spaces are flexible to serve a wide variety of uses. With careful consideration given to the movement of the sun throughout the seasons, this sustainable building glows with natural light, warms itself in winter with cool shade in the summer.

Casa de las Estrellas
Filled with gardens and light this charming guesthouse is located on a quiet street in the historic center close to San Miguel’s colorful Artisan’s Market.  The home’s living spaces are situated around a lush flower filled courtyard with an ancient pomegranate tree.  Students share rooms with private terraces and begin their days with a delicious breakfast in the lovely dining room.  The guesthouse is modern, yet saturated with the deepest of Mexican tradition.

Mundo Joven Hostel
In the heart of Mexico City, Mundo Joven overlooks the towers and domes of the grand Metropolitan Cathedral. Sights and sounds that have echoed through this world capital for millennia surround you. Students share simple rooms with breakfast in the restaurant at the ground floor. Their philosophy is “We believe in respect for the planet and understanding among nations and that the cultural exchange between the young will build the foundations of lasting peace.”

Program Cost & Payment Schedule

The fee for the CASA program is $3,800, which includes lodging, two meals per day, entry fees and ground transportation. Air fare and travel insurance are not included.

  • February 28, 2016 – Receive Written Commitment and $1,000 Deposit
  • March 31, 2016 – Receive $2,800 Balance of CASA Fee & Signed Liability Agreement
  • May 26, 2016 – Fly to Mexico City to Begin the Program
  • July 1, 2016 – Fly Back to the US at the Conclusion of the Program

Information for students considering the program

CASA Commitment  We will be making the Mexico City hotel reservations soon and need to know exactly how many students will be attending.  Therefore, we would appreciate a final decision from you by the end of February.
Program Agreement  As soon as you formally commit to the program, we will send you an agreement which will need to be signed by you and your parents.
Program Fee  The program fee is $3,800, which includes lodging, two meals per day, entry fees and ground transportation.  Air fare and travel insurance are not included.  A $1,000 deposit will be due by February 28th to hold your place.  Please make out your check to Steven House and mail it to 1499 Washington Street, San Francisco, California 94109.  We would like to receive the balance of your payment along with the signed Program Agreement by March 31st.
Flight Schedule  The schedule is for all participants to fly into Mexico City on Thursday, May the 26th.  Cathi and I will meet you at the airport upon arrival and take you to the hotel in Mexico City.  There will be a “Welcome to Mexico Dinner” that evening and then everyone will get settled in before beginning the Mexico City portion of the program on Friday morning.  We can also assist you with your airline reservations if needed.
Travel Insurance  We suggest that each student take out a travel insurance policy for the duration of the program.  CISI offers a very reasonable policy for students studying abroad and here is a link to their plans:  http://www.culturalinsurance.com/students/
Passports  Students attending the CASA program must have a current passport for travel to Mexico.  Foreign students may need to obtain a visa.  If you don’t have a current passport or visa we suggest you apply for one as soon as possible.
Contact Information  If you are interested in attending we would appreciate you sending us your parents’ names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for our records.

For more information and to apply, please contact Steven House (steven@houseandhouse.com).

ProfileAvalon Roche is a sophomore majoring in Public and Urban Affairs. She grew up in an Air Force family, and has lived in Germany since she was nine but also considers Virginia home. She speaks three languages – English, Spanish, and German. Both of her parents are Hokies!

What led you to your major?

Initially I was in Architecture, a career I’d wanted since I was twelve. Part way through my first year, I realized Architecture wasn’t the best fit for me. My other passion is government and politics, so Public and Urban Affairs is a nice blend of what interests me in both areas.

What’s your favorite part about your major?

It’s inclusion of multiple areas of studies. As a Public and Urban Affairs major, you look at government, economics, sociology, law, a little philosophy, design – everything that relates to people and societies is included.

What are you do when you’re not doing work for your major?

I am minoring in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. I’ve always loved learning languages and love the challenge of learning a language with a completely different alphabet. The ability to communicate with others, both linguistically and culturally, is something I place a lot of value in. Learning languages opens so many doors.

What else are you involved in at Tech?

I am involved in the Sexual Assault and Violence by Students (SAVES) group, Alpha Rho Chi, which is the architecture and design professional fraternity, and I am a CAUS ambassador.

What are your plans for after graduation?

At the moment, I’m planning on going to graduate school, either for law or something related to urban planning. I hope to one day work for either the government or a non-profit, developing cities that benefit and impact their residents.