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Sharing the Profession: by Kristin Purdy, AIA

I love sharing information about the architectural profession with others, especially aspiring architects.  I remember my first true exposure to architecture was in the tenth grade through the Boy Scout Explorer Program supported and run by AIA Rochester.


In fact, it is very serendipitous that the architects who led this program and energized me about pursuing a career as an architect were from SWBR, my place of employment for the past twelve years. Recently, I was sitting in the conference room where the Explorer program met here at SWBR and thought back to my experiences in that room at sixteen years old. All the knowledge and passion shared for the profession through that program confirmed for me that I wanted to pursue a life as an architect. This program was a critical component to how I got to where I am today, and I will never forget that.

Fast forward to June 2012 when I became a licensed architect. I immediately joined our local AIA Chapter and got involved helping out the Explorer program still supported through the organization. I wanted

to spread the word about what an architect does and how rewarding the profession is. A few years later, I ran for Education Director and found myself facilitating the Explorer program. Over the years, I have spent time mentoring and hopefully inspiring future architects and emerging professionals. I enjoy sharing my passion and commitment to the profession with others interested in this sometimes challenging, yet always rewarding career. Paying it forward to these individuals is very fulfilling and I also have the humbling privilege of learning from them in the process.

The future is bright here in Rochester – we have so much to appreciate in our local community and a region that strives for constant improvement. I have been fortunate to have had many mentors since sixteen that have left a lasting impact on me, but one said something to me a few years ago that really resonated: “Leave it better than you found it.” It reminded me why I became an architect – to improve people’s lives by designing solutions for success. Success can be defined as many things. A high-performing building that addresses every design need a client has. A renovation that allows end users to advance in their field of expertise even better than before. A project that addresses environmental design and social equity in addition to being beautiful. Success is also sharing knowledge and mentoring others about and in our profession so that they can carry the architectural torch in the future. As architects, we are all passionate about what we do and love to share our buildings’ stories.

So why am I here writing all this? To hopefully inspire you to continue the great work you are already doing to mentor our upcoming architects and share this incredible profession – they are our legacy. I am grateful for organizations like AIA Rochester that provide many outlets for us to educate and support future generations. You never know what sixteen-year old you may be motivating to become an architect just like you!

If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved with AIA Rochester and mentoring opportunities, contact Linda Hewitt at or call the office at 585.232.7650.

Purdy is an architect at SWBR and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of The Architectural Foundation of Greater Rochester.

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