March 2017 Chapter Leader of the Month: Madison WickstromUniversity of New Mexico
Madison Wickstrom is a 400-level student at the University of New Mexico’s (UNM’s) School of Architecture and Planning and will be graduating with her bachelors of architecture in May. She currently serves as the chapter’s Vice President, but became involved with the AIAS last year when her school’s chapter “was very tiny and needed a new board to continue to help it grow.”
Madison, who often goes by Madie, says she’s not the “typical” AIAS member. “I have found that I don’t even want to pursue a career in architecture. Though I have loved my architectural education in this program, my greatest interests and passions lie in graphic design, industrial design, art history, and much more,” says Madie. “I am planning on taking a year off to travel and decide what graduate school would be the best fit for me.”
With that unique perspective, one of Madie’s objectives as a chapter leader was to “bring more opportunity to students like me and expand what this organization can do and who it serves.” Inspired by that thought, the AIAS chapter at UNM started TimeOUT, a series where the chapter hosts a free monthly event for students to take a break from school and architecture and do something fun.
“We’ve also started a blog for our members who enjoy writing and there is even a fabrication course offered based on our annual Beaux Arts Ball. Most importantly, though, every event is open to all of our students, member or not,” she says.
West Quad Director Elizabeth Seidel said the chapter has successfully worked to enhance their studio culture by demonstrating balanced lifestyles through TimeOUTs and other events. She says “Their impact on studio culture is evident in that they have elections coming up with students from a wide range of classes running for positions.They demonstrate a high level of leadership and professionalism.”
Even though Madie says it’s a bit unorthodox, she thinks her journey serves as a testament to the AIAS’ great strength: “its ability to be anything you want it to. AIAS is an entity and platform that adapts to each unique chapter’s needs and goals while still maintaining its institutional principles and integrity.”
She adds that “none of that matters without drive and dedication. Our chapter and our board have worked unbelievably hard for our success and we have created something that is truly unique to us and our school.”
The chapter’s President, Gabrielle Herbosa, says Madie has been an amazing asset to the chapter and has helped make the chapter’s events fulfilling. “While she continues to be innovative with events that serve to bring students together, she is creative in that these events serve multiple purposes that benefit students’ architectural and design skills. The level of work that she has dedicated to AIAS is above and beyond the protocol of her position; Madie has been extremely helpful to other and new incoming students. I would say that the degree of our chapter’s recent successes would not have been the same without her determination and work ethic.”
Madie said she’d like to share her honor with her “absolutely incredible team, Gabrielle Herbosa, Helena Cardona [Secretary], and Megan Pavelko [Treasurer]. Without them this would not be incredible as it is and I wouldn’t be in the position that I am.”