Helping Aspiring Architects get started with Architecture with Samantha Markham

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On today’s episode of the Young Architect Podcast, Michael spoke with fellow Architect and blogger Samantha Markham of the Aspiring Architect blog. Samantha shares her tips and advice on how to get the most out of your college years by being open to new opportunities, joining committees, and growing your skills at school and beyond.

You can also listen to this podcast on YouTube by clicking here! 

Architect Samantha Markham

Young Architect Podcast Host, Michael Riscica speaks to fellow Architect and Blogger of the Aspiring Architect Blog, Samantha Markham.

Samantha’s mission is to help aspiring architecture students and emerging professionals to better understand the architecture career, do well at school and on the ARES along with how to succeed in the future.

Some people know early on in their lives that they want to pursuit a specific career, but some don’t really know until later in life. For Samantha, she realized that architecture was the path she wanted to follow after already studying marketing and business for one year at another university.

Samantha enjoyed marketing, but she realized that with architecture, she could fulfill her craving to make a bigger impact on the world. Her new path led her to studying at the School of Design at Louisiana Tech University where she also became heavily involved in the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS).

As an AIAS member, she helped to found and assist with several other organizations and committees such as Freedom by Design, Architecture Matters with AIA Dallas, and You’ve Got 5 Minutes, Kid.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode

  • How Samantha decided that she wanted to pursue a career in architecture after completing one year studying marketing at another university.
  • What Samantha did with her AIAS chapter at the Louisiana Tech University including help launch Freedom by Design. 
  • How Samantha began her architecture career in Dallas, Texas and what she’s doing to help the AIA chapter in that city.
  • What is Architecture Matters and how Samantha became involved with the committee when she began her professional career. 
  • Samantha’s involvement with other committees and organizations such as You’ve Got 5 Minutes Kid, 6th grade girls interested in STEM careers, and summer mentoring events for women in architecture.
  • Samantha’s experience taking the AREs and how she created a scheduled timeline to help both herself and her husband prepare for the exams and take them within a year. 
  • How Samantha began her blog, Aspiring Architect.
  • About Samantha’s writing style and blog series including one that highlighted different architecture schools.
  • Why should someone join the AIAS or the AIA.
  • What’s next for the Aspiring Architect Blog including videos about studio culture and studio life at UT Arlington.
  • Samantha’s advice for growing your career and what aspects are important for any job in the field of architecture.
  • The trick Samantha uses to help her move forward on a problem and save time.

Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode

  • You can really help other aspiring architects by creating committees or events to help students or emerging professionals learn more about the architecture career and connect with potential employers.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about a career in architecture, there are many different organizations and events to become involved in to help move you along your path and goal.
  • All of the skills and experiences you can gain by joining a committee like AIA or AIAS: Leadership, Communication, Networking

 Samantha Markham’s Advice for Aspiring Architects

“Take every opportunity that you can get and don’t be shy to ask for opportunities. I have been so pleasantly surprised by both my firm and AIA Dallas with how many opportunities I’ve been given. Don’t be scared to take opportunities that are offered to you, but also don’t be scared to speak up and ask for them if you’re not getting the opportunities that you want.”

Favorite Quotes

“I spent my first year of college studying marketing and business because I loved graphics and I’ve always had this entrepreneurial spirit. I enjoyed it, but I thought there was something more for me and something that I could maybe have a larger impact in the world around us. That’s when I started brainstorming and searching, having conversations with my dad, and all of it sort of led me to architecture.” – Samantha Markham on how she realized that marketing wasn’t for her and decided to make the switch to architecture.

“My hope is to help high school students who are thinking about going to college or maybe even college students who are thinking of switching majors kind of get the insider look at what each university has to offer and which one might be the best fit for them. – Samantha Markham on how her University Spotlight blog posts are helping potential students choose a university that would be a good fit for them. 

“With organizations like the AIAS or AIA, I have personally gained so many skills and experiences that you don’t necessarily gain just from working or doing an internship. I have gained leadership skills by having to work with a whole committee and lead it to make an event happen. – Samantha Markham on why you should consider joining either the AIAS or the AIA. 

“Communication skills are a huge aspect of our everyday life; especially in architecture and design. There have been so many aspects of AIAS and AIA Dallas that have taught me how to better communicate with people and how to work with all team members as well as helping them find their strengths and what they’re passionate about.” – Samantha Markham on how being part of a committee can help your communication and leadership skills grow. 

“Time management has been really key for me to do a good job, but it’s also something that’s been a work in progress for me to be good at it. I think you realize when you’re in school that you have to start being good at it. You recognize that time management is just as important in the work force if not when you start working.” – Samantha Markham on the importance of having good time management skills. 

“There are so many different career paths that you can take in architecture and I definitely didn’t understand that when I was still in school. I think most people graduate thinking they’re going to be designers, but now that I’ve worked for a couple of years, I understand that there are so many more options than just being a designer. You have project managers, project architects, and then you still have all of the designers, but there’s a whole business aspect to the career and the different paths that you can take as well.” – Samantha Markham on the many different careers you can follow in the field of architecture from design to business management. 

Resources Mentioned in the Show

If you enjoyed this podcast, you should also check out: 

About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.


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