Transition 101

The event’s format allowed attendees the opportunity to meet with many different mentors.

Ellen Abraham

Event: Transition 101
Location: Sun Decor Fabrics | NY Design Center, 08.15.12
Organizer: AIANY Women in Architecture (WIA) Committee
Mentors: Dana Bryne Klein, Meri Tepper, Marta Karamuz, Mary Deitz, Dolores Spivack, Siena Shaw, Marvine Pierre, Jessica Sheridan, & Carolyn Morin
Sponsor: Sun Decor Fabrics

“Time’s up!”

The Women in Architecture Committee (WIA) recently hosted Transition 101, a team speed-mentoring event offering female architecture students and intern architects an opportunity to discuss career options and professional development with experienced architectural designers. Structured similarly to speed dating, participants were asked to join a table of mentors and were given 25 minutes to converse about one of four discussion topics: pursuing licensure, selecting alternate/non-traditional career paths in design, reviewing portfolios, and reviewing résumés and cover letters. When their “time was up,” the mentees rotated to another table.

Sun Decor Fabrics’ representatives welcomed Transition 101 to their space at its NY Design Center showroom, and opened the event with a slideshow presentation of their window treatment and fabric designs. Afterwards, WIA organizers started the clock and the speed mentoring began. Conversations at each table swelled with growing queries from the attendees. At the “alternate careers” table, for example, the young designers expressed concern about not being able to earn Intern Development Program (IDP) hours outside of typical architecture settings. Mentor Siena Shaw dispelled these fears, responding: “As long as one is working under a licensed architect, he/she can earn up to 465 IDP hours working for developers, engineering firms, interior design firms, or planning firms.” Shaw herself was a full-time carpenter constructing homes before working for an architecture office.

Young women at pivotal points in their design careers had the opportunity to speak with seasoned female designers and architects about finding their own design niche, pursuing licensure, and refining their CVs and portfolios. The event was successful in encouraging these young women to continue practicing architecture specifically after college, providing them with female exemplars who they can contact as future mentors as their careers progress.