Contributed by:
Eduardo Castaneda

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From Student to Intern and Beyond...

It was with an overwhelming enthusiasm that eight students sounded our voices and shared our ideas and concerns at the recent YG5MK (You’ve Got 5 Minutes, Kid): UTA School of Architecture Edition.

This opportunity served as a powerful tool to help me further refine my talents and abilities to lead. It allowed me to help others to connect with their peers and professionals, and empowered members to collaborate together to create and make a difference. I firmly believe that we need our emerging professionals to share their voices and show their passion towards the future of our profession. I’m definitely proud of my peers who joined me in stepping out of our comfort zones and starting the dialogue between the AIA Dallas and AIAS UT Arlington.

Following the YG5MK presentation, I challenged myself to redefine my career path as the academy and profession continue to question their relevance. This was a perfect time for me to reevaluate what it means to be a student of architecture and what it should mean for me when I enter the profession. Having the opportunity to present a subject that I’m passionate about has impacted me in pursuing what type of career and education I wanted. Through the connections and tools that AIA Dallas provided me with, I started researching and seeking some opportunities.

Recently I received the Callison $5000 scholarship and paid internship for the summer. I’ve been working for two weeks so far and I am confident that continuing my journey with them will be an incisive investment, which will bring positive changes in both my personal and educational life. With the large amount of resources at my disposal, the inspirational colleagues and community, and reputable architecture firm will provide me with skills that are progressively more in demand in a multi-cultural world. On top of that, I just received the 2014 Kolb-Berglund Traveling Fellowship from the Dallas Center for Architecture that will help me fund my China trip that I’m taking this summer. Through this trip, I will be focusing on how the world is experiencing unprecedented rapid urbanization, particularly in the eastern hemisphere where manufacturing and tourist economies rely upon large populations, technologies and transportation hubs, cultural and architectural icons, and political support to captivate vibrant world markets. While economically beneficial, such growth puts tremendous strain on cities as their urban contexts radically transform.

It has been an honor serving on the AIA Dallas Board of Directors as the AIAS Liaison and the AIAS UT Arlington as the Chapter President. There aren’t very many organizations that truly allow students and emerging professionals the opportunity to shape the climate of the profession they will inevitably be a part of. The AIA has been a part of my life for two years now, and it has shaped how I feel about architecture, architecture school, sustainability, community growth, and my abilities as a leader. I have had the great pleasure to work under strong leaders, who have allowed me to grow into the leader that I have become today. This is why I want to be more involved with the AIA – because of the people, because of the friendships, the connections, and because of the opportunity to change the profession of architecture from the ground up.