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AIA Dallas You've Got 5 Minutes: UTA Edition
Contributed by:
Eduardo Castaneda

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For Emerging Professionals/ Students, Active Engagement Is the Key

I’m often asked by students and emerging professionals, “What is the benefit of joining the AIA?” Having been a part of this organization for the past two years, I have come to realize that the greatest benefit is not measured in the tangible (educational opportunities, networking/ relationship building, and the planned events), but rather, in the intangible. The AIA plays an active role in developing its members by providing leadership opportunities. If you allow AIA to become a part of you, then this will not just be another resume line item/ letters behind your name, it will become a catalyst for personal growth as you become a designer and leader of the built environment.

“Leadership” is a word that gets thrown around a great deal in our society, oftentimes under the assumption that it is only used in reference to those in high level positions. Leadership is not simply defined by a personality type or position served, but by the willingness to step up to define change, to think differently and question standards. The AIA is committed to building leaders that go beyond their studio walls and choose to participate in the decisions that are shaping our everyday lives. The confidence in one’s own abilities and willingness to pursue greater opportunities is true leadership and it is a membership benefit that will last forever.

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As a result of my involvement, most people now associate me with AIA—both as the Dallas Chapter’s AIAS liaison to the Board and as president of AIAS UTA. Being a part of these organizations has, by far, given me many more opportunities in the past 2 years than I had in the previous 6 years of my studies. As a result, new doors have opened; I’ve traveled, connected with my peers and professionals, and developed additional skills. When I was first asked to take a leadership role in these two organizations, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. My biggest fear was that I was not qualified enough to take on this great task. The AIA has certainly helped me further refine my talents and abilities to lead more confidently. I’ve learned a lot through both individuals and the AIA collectively, which have helped me grow and develop my passion for this profession.

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As a national organization, we need our young leaders to share their voices and show their passion for the future of design. Our generation will be the deciding factor in the fate of our profession and future built environment. So, I encourage you as a leader to keep yourself engaged, continuously learn from one another, and create opportunities for educational, social and architectural ideas to activate your workplaces and communities. We are shaping the profession we will soon inherit. What will your impact be?