February 14, 2017


The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) is celebrating the 60th anniversary of student excellence in leadership, service, and design. In honor of our 60th year, the AIAS is excited to share 60th: Legacy, an ongoing weekly celebration of and thanks to our alumni sponsored by Professional Publications, Inc (PPI). PPI is a publisher of professional licensing exam materials since 1975 and wants to recognize those who have helped the AIAS achieve 60 years of success.


Carrie Parker, AIA, LEED AP BD+C








Carrie kicked off her architectural career as an intern at HKS headquarters in Dallas, Texas at the age of 17. Serving as the AIAS Chapter President at Oklahoma State University’s College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology, Carrie graduated early and at the top of her college. After graduating she participated in the HKS Mid-Atlantic Design fellowship before starting full time at CannonDesign in 2013, first designing projects in Florida and Texas, to becoming the Project Architect of her office’s new home in Arlington, VA. Serving as her office Co-Chair for Community Engagement, Pre-Licensing Coordinator and NCARB Licensing Advisor, she not only engaged but empowered the aspiring architects at CannonDesign to pursue licensure. Studying alongside her husband, Stephen Parker, she was licensed within three years of graduation, beating the national average by five years. She then went on to serve at the national level on the NCARB Think Tank, giving voice to young architects from across the country. Locally, Carrie has been an emerging leader and mentor beyond the office, participating in the AIA|DC Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program. She was recently elected to the board of her building association and as she has always done, giving voice architects in the public realm through the power of design leadership.

ARE Prep Tip: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting to test?

You will never be less busy than you are now. If you want to make licensure a priority, then make it a priority. Talk to your bosses, family, and significant other about the commitment you are making. Ask for their guidance and patience. Also, do not think you can multitask while you study–it doesn’t work. Do not give yourself more than 1.5-2 months per exam section because you will forget a lot of what you learned at the beginning. Schedule your exam first and work toward that deadline. If you schedule when you are ready you may never force yourself to study.

PPI - Banner (revised)


How did your experience with AIAS help you to achieve your goals?

My involvement with the AIAS in numerous roles at the chapter level helped spur my thirst for involvement, helping others, and advancing the profession. That shone through in my resume and my personality, and now I am at a firm that allows me to continue to enact change and stay involved in my community.

How can someone best change the world?

If you follow your passion, apply yourself to your chosen cause, and don’t be afraid to speak up, you will be the impetus for many changes in the world. You don’t have to solve world hunger if that is not your calling.

How can someone be a better designer?

Study trends, read design magazines/blogs, talk to and listen to clients, and practice. And practice more.

What is one tip you would give yourself in your 20s?

Don’t sweat the grades. All that matters is your portfolio and the fact that you have a college degree. Of course you should try your best, but not at the cost to your sanity.

How do you define work-life balance and how is it achievable?

It is achievable with a small checklist: A clear definition of priorities (which are okay to change!) is the first step in achieving a healthy work-life balance. The second step is to budget your time and schedule. It helps to see your schedule in writing. The third is open and transparent communication with your partner to realize those priorities and goals. The last is have clear boundaries between work and home; this may be a physical, mental, or schedule divider.

If you, or another AIAS alumni you know, deserves recognition for their contribution to the profession and society at large, please use the link below to nominate them for this honor. 

Nominate Here