What is the value of being licensed to you? Why did you decide to get licensed?

A big part of why I decided to get licensed was to help fill the missing perspective from minorities in the profession. It’s no secret that there is a lack of African American licensed professionals and an even smaller amount of those individuals are women. As a young, Black woman it was important to me not only to be a part of this small group, but to also help join the charge in empowering others to do the same.

Additionally, I was interested in advancing my architectural career and getting licensed allowed me to become a more knowledgeable architect while also opening up professional opportunities outside of the office.

How long did it take you to complete the ARE?

16 months.

What were some of your best strategies for studying and how did you strategize for any set-backs or struggles (if any)?

I work best with deadlines, so it was very helpful for me to sign up for the tests before I started studying for them. That helped me create a study plan, and gave me a goal to work backwards from.

How did your role change in your firm once you were licensed?

Besides changing my e-mail signature and now being able to avoid awkward conversations where I no longer struggle with how to introduce myself (designer? architectural intern? aspiring architect?), I am beginning to take on more of a leadership role on my projects.

Why did you join AIA Seattle?

I first joined AIA in order to connect with other minority architect’s through the Diversity Roundtable Committee. It serves as a platform for bringing together individuals from all aspects of the design profession that share the common goal of bettering the field for everyone. Being around those who are so invested in the greater architectural community is inspiring and encouraging.

What relationships have you created within AIA Seattle?

The relationships that I have made with other Diversity Roundtable members have impacted my personal career by connecting me with mentors and leaders, but have also allowed me to engage individuals and organizations outside the profession that have similar goals.

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?

Lately I’ve been involved in work that feels more closely related to planning and urban design, which is something I didn’t expect to be doing. It’s been extremely interesting and fulfilled a desire I have to do projects which rely heavily on community engagement.

Where do you think the field of architecture is headed?

I’m not sure about the entire field of architecture, but I think as architects we will be taking on more of an advocacy role. There’s a lot we can contribute to policy conversations that have a lasting impact on the design of our built environment, and will help ensure equity and resilience of our communities.

What do you hope to contribute with your work?

I hope to give communities that have previously been excluded from the design process a voice and a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions that affect their neighborhoods.

What is your favorite Seattle-area structure?

One of my favorite places in the city is Volunteer Park, which isn’t a structure itself but does have a pretty cool conservatory and water tower from the early 1900’s.

Advice for others thinking about getting licensed?

Just do it! There’s never going to be a super convenient time to dedicate the majority of your non-work life to studying, so just do it now (unless it’s summer, in which case I’d strongly suggest you go climb a mountain and get back to those study guides in a couple months). Ask your firm to support you if they don’t already, reach out to others who are in the midst of studying for guidance, and find a good coffee shop to hibernate in.