The Power of Saying ‘Yes’ with Rachel Law

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On today’s episode of the Young Architect Podcast, Michael spoke with his friend and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) 2016-2017 Vice President, Rachel Law. Since becoming the Vice President, both her and AIAS 2016-2017  President, Sarah Wahlgren, have been working diligently to connect AIAS Chapters throughout the USA and beyond.

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

2016-2017 AIAS Vice President – Rachel Law

Rachel herself is from Canada and attended Ryerson University in Toronto. Thanks to a mixed influence from her parents, teachers, and personal interests, Rachel realized during her last high school years that she had an appreciation for math, science, detail, and the arts. All of this eventually led to her deciding that she wanted to pursue architecture.

In Canada, only 12 architecture schools exist and Rachel narrowed down her search to Ryerson because of its practical guidance to teaching architecture. In fact, AIAS Ryerson is the only chapter right now in Canada and Rachel is very thankful for that.

Since becoming the AIAS VP, Rachel has helped improve the following areas:

  • Working with the increased amount of staff members.
  • Responding better and more proactively to what AIAS members want, with marketing and social media campaigns such as #VisibleValue Wednesdays
  • Reaching out to professionals who can help mentor architecture students.
  • Expanding the CRIT Brand; which now includes the bi-annual CRIT Journal publication, the CRIT Live Research Symposiums across the USA, and a research mentorship and grant program called CRIT Scholar.

One of the accomplishments that Rachel is most proud of is how she’s helped to connect more AIAS chapters throughout the USA and beyond. This year, she’s helped put together a program called CRIT Scholar, where selected students are paired up with research mentors.

The purpose of CRIT Scholar is to help students discover, learn, and shape their architecture education by either providing professional mentorship and research grants to pursue different resources or travel experiences. With a travel grant, students will be able to learn and investigate architecture in other parts of the world.

Now that she’s finishing up her AIAS Vice Presidential term, Rachel has been looking towards her future career in architecture. During the interview, you’ll hear what the job hunt process has been like for Rachel and what she’s looking for in a workplace. Plus, she shares some of her top tips for young, aspiring architects who are looking for a job or the next big thing in their careers. 

What You’ll Hear on This Episode 

  • Why Rachel decided to pursue architecture because of her good eye to detail and her combined interest in math, science and being creative.
  • Her decision to attend Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.
  • The curriculum and hands-on approach to learning architecture at Ryerson University.
  • Rachel’s experience with design-build projects, with previous knowledge of AIAS’ Freedom by Design.
  • Her experience with AIAS at Ryerson and why she decided to become more involved with AIAS.
  • What Rachel and the 2016-2017 AIAS President, Sarah Wahlgren, have been working on lately.
  • The research program that AIAS is planning to implement this Fall in October with CRIT Live.
  • The future AIAS Dubai Conference that’s in store for March 2018.
  • Where Rachel and Sarah have traveled thus far for their AIAS roles.
  • Rachel’s plans for the future once she’s down as the AIAS National Vice President.
  • How to choose a program to attend or a firm to work for when the time comes.
  • What it’s like to search for a job once you’re done at school. 

Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode 

  1. There are so many different ways to get involved on your school campus with organizations like AIAS. Better yet, you get to attend events, help your community grow, or take on a leadership role.
  1. We all come from different backgrounds and have a variety of reasons for why we want to become architects or be involved in architecture in one way or another. There are many different paths to follow that you can discover once you recognize what you’re passionate about the most.
  1. You might not love your first job, but you will learn so much from it and hopefully get a great experience that will help you lean towards the next step on your career path. Don’t be afraid of new challenges because they help you discover what you love and what you’re good at. 

Rachel Law’s Advice for Aspiring Architects

“Be a ‘Yes Man’ and say ‘yes’ to anything and everything that comes your way, but know your limitations as a person as well. That’s how I came to be so involved in so many different opportunities by saying ‘yes’ and being that person that continues to say ‘yes.’ Just during my first week of work, saying ‘yes’ opened a lot of doors for me. That’s going to be your way of discovering how you can add value to your work and how you understand yourself a little bit more and your interests.” 

Favorite Quotes 

“For me, AIAS at Ryerson University was a way to grow my network beyond the walls of my school. It was an opportunity for us Canadian students to branch out and understand the education of other students in different areas. Especially if you’re interested in studying in the States in the future, AIAS was very popular for that at Ryerson.” – Rachel Law on the benefits of having an AIAS chapter at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.  

“Communication has changed and now architects aren’t just kept to their same, local group. Because of AIAS, we’re now connected to so many different people throughout the country.” – Michael Riscica on the power of communication through AIAS. 

“I approached it as a way to learn more about something that I was interested in or passionate about. It’s a huge step to find a job once you’ve finished school and it’s quite a process. You probably won’t automatically love your first job.” – Rachel Law on her experience looking for a job once she graduated from college.

“Your education never really ends once you’ve graduated. You have to keep learning about all of the new things that come up or on the cutting edge.” – Rachel Law on why our architecture education in the profession never really ends once we begin to work. 

“Architecture isn’t a cookie-cutter profession and that’s what I love about it. You can really discover and follow different paths, but you’re always adding to the architecture profession or building a better community by working on different social and economic problems no matter what you do.” – Rachel Law on what she loves most about the architecture profession.

Resources Mentioned in the Show

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.