“Use the article to offer some insight into who you are,” I was advised when asked to write this piece. However, thinking about the journey that brought me thus far somehow only serves to make me feel old. Nonetheless let us start with the quintessential “When I Knew I Wanted to Be an Architect” story.
It was while attending Ardenne High School in Jamaica that I saw a set of blueprints for the first time. “Don’t worry about how the paper smells, you stop noticing it after a while,” my teacher said. Off-putting as that should have been, there was something about the intricacy of it all, the masterful line work as it was all by hand in those days. That would be the precursor to what seemed like never ending sleepless nights toiling over projects throughout college and professionally.
In 2003 I received my Bachelors of Arts in Architectural Studies degree from the Caribbean School of Architecture at the University of Technology, Jamaica. The summers between semesters and for a few years after graduating were spent working in Belize on a variety of commercial, residential single family and multi-family developments. As anyone who has moved from the Caribbean to US can attest, it can be akin to starting all over professionally. Thankfully I was able to find a job working for a small firm in Virginia. There I was able to receive thoughtful mentorship and gain my bearings. Through hard work and good management, the firm stayed afloat during the 2000's “great recession”; at the end of which I decided to pursue graduate studies, as it was a required stepping stone towards licensure.
I obtained my Master's degree from Florida A&M University in 2012. I then moved to Rochester to work for Bergmann Associates contracted to Wegmans assisting with store remodels. I am now a licensed architect at LaBella Associates where I operate as a Project Manager/Project Architect with a specialization in K-12 education projects.
In 2018 I was invited to meet with the board members of The Architectural Foundation of Greater Rochester (AFGR) to gain a better understanding of the mission and core values held. I joined the Foundation because I believe I can help the organization better achieve its goals, and achieve some of my own regarding the education of future architects as well.
One of my intentions is to aid in the extension of outreach to underserved areas of the public education sector. The students enrolled in these schools may or may not be aware of the benefits of an education in the arts, or have support available to them.
Another mission of mine involves the AFGR and AIA scholarship program for regional architecture students. I am especially interested in addressing how to maintain student involvement throughout the course of the various programs and also how to encourage architectural school graduates to return and work in Rochester.
Additionally, I plan to work to align Rochester’s various efforts to reach students via the AFGR, AIA Rochester, and the ACE Mentor Program. With similar goals in mind, we could benefit from a more intentional collaboration. Rochester is a small, tightly knit community and I believe that increased collaboration between such organizations could have a transformative effect on the way the academic and professional body views our region.