This interview is with Sarah Rozman, an architecture major at University of Illinois at Chicago, expecting to receive her master's degree in May 2017. We recently spoke with her and asked her about her experience within her program and what she's planning to do with her professional future.
What influenced you to pursue a degree in architecture?
I did my undergraduate degree in Interior Architecture and after exploring what that degree had to offer, I realized that I wanted to have more education, the natural progression from my undergraduate degree was architecture.
What has your experience been like at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC)?
This program has been very special. I have had to opportunity while in this program to be a Teaching Assistant for various classes which is something that is invaluable. I love getting to work with undergraduate students and help them understand different parts of architecture. I also have had the opportunity to work with various faculty at the University on different projects for their own practices, and that experience has been really unique, it is very rewarding to get to help on projects that are exhibited world-wide.
Were there other schools you were considering, and if so, why did you choose this one?
For my M. Arch. I applied to University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Harvard, and UIC. I choose this school based on the program. The program here at UIC is small which I liked. This program gave me the confidence that I would be able to pursue what I wanted to, find my niche. The more general understanding of architecture at UIC allowed for me not “specialize” in something early. I felt that I wanted to get an education based off of principles, theories, and the practice of architecture I can learn. This school is not heavily technical and that is something that I wanted. I know I can learn how to do the extremely practical elements of architecture when I work and this school provides me the knowledge to work through problems, do research, and understand buildings.
What is your favorite class so far, and why?
I have enjoyed many of my classes but most of my studio classes have been very different. The studios in this school all focus on a different project so they all address and make you think about the design problem a different way. I am currently in an elective right now, which focuses on fabrication of furniture which is an interesting scale shift to the typical architectural problems. This difference between, an urban studio which focuses on a city, to then building furniture (weird furniture) allows me to think differently, see the various scales of a project.
What is unique about the nature of your major’s classes?
These classes in this program are very different than most degrees/disciplines. The classes in architecture are hand-on. We draw, build, critique and work together. A lot of the work we do in various classes is group work in some sense. This I think is very unique to this program because we have created a culture of working together to pushing each other’s own work and assist with research.
Is there anything you wish you had known about this major ahead of time before choosing this career path?
Architecture is not like any other career path, both in undergraduate and graduate studies, this degree is hard but very rewarding. We work hard to push how we think about things, not just take a quiz on a topic. We are all creative individuals and being around so many different forms of creativity is something that the school atmosphere cultivates so well.
Have you participated in any internships?
I have had various work experience during my time at UIC. The School of Architecture has a job fair which helps set up people and firms. A lot of our faculty have their own firms as well so on various occasions some of the students help the faculty in their own projects.
What are your future career plans and aspirations?
After working in the academic field here at UIC, I would like to eventually pursue teaching architecture. I find the academic world very interesting and I hope to find a way to make a closer bridge between academia and practice.
How are you financing your education, and what are your most helpful online resources or tools?
I have been fortunate to receive scholarships and assistantships from my program which covers my tuition.
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