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.
Regan Greenhill, LEED Green Associate, Assoc. AIA
Stafford King Wiese Architects
I graduated from University of Oregon in 2015, with a B.ARCH and a B.A. in Spanish. After graduation, I started working at Stafford King Wiese Architects in Sacramento, CA. During my two and a half years working in the professional world, I have been able to work on different project types including retail, healthcare, master planning, interiors, and education. For the past year, I have been mainly working on education projects, which I enjoy. Education work is unique in that projects can be very diverse since campuses have different uses from classrooms to gymnasiums to theaters to aquatic centers. I am also involved in my local AIA chapter and am a Professional Mentor with the CREATE program run by SRBX, mentoring high school students, who are interested in architecture, construction, or engineering, develop a building design project.
ARE Prep Tip: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting to test?
Currently I am in the middle of taking my ARE’s, 3 passed and 3 left to take. One tip I would give for those starting to test is to form a ‘study group’ where you can share study tips, what study materials you found helpful, and overall motivate each other to continue studying and schedule your next exam. Generally studying for these exams is a solitary activity, and it can be hard to maintain motivation. Sharing where you are at with others and seeing how they are progressing will help motivate you to continue studying.
We have such a group at my firm, it has been very helpful, especially when I was first starting, to know how to get registered to start taking the exams, what study materials where the best, and study materials that the firm had for use. We do not discuss exam questions, only how to best prepare for an exam.
What and/or who shaped you into who you are and what you do today?
I owe a lot of what I do today based on a class I was in during high school. I was able to be in the Regional Occupational Program for Construction Technology, where we applied and were placed in internships with local architecture, construction, or engineering offices. Where I worked was slightly different, I didn’t work at a place that did design, I worked at a School District’s Facilities Department, who manage new projects and projects under construction at several campuses. Later, I realize that it was a fantastic opportunity to see how the Owner/District views and works with architects or contractors. It helped build my passion for working on Education projects, which I am currently working on. During this class, we also had a real-life inspired project designing a building as part of a competition with other high schools. We worked with local professionals to mentor us through the project leading up to a final presentation explaining our design. This was great exposure to architecture as it was closely related to the profession and solidified my choice in going to architecture school in college. Now as a professional, I mentor and help high school students as they design a project in a similar program!
How can someone be a better designer?
A better designer would be able to gather meaningful input from users/clients, distill that information into the design, collaborate on the design with others (including the users), have an iterative process, and be able to clearly communicate design ideas.
How have you overcome unforeseen challenges through your career?
One challenge (that was unforeseen as a college student) was the sharp learning curve when I first entered the professional world after graduation. I felt I had a very well-rounded and extensive education in architecture (which I believe I have, thanks to University of Oregon) but that is only a small part of what you do while working. It was very overwhelming at first, realizing how much I didn’t know. Since I enjoy working at an architecture firm, it was exciting to challenge myself to learn as much as I could and show up the next day with the same mentality. It is easy to put off work that is hard or confusing or delegate to others, but I truly want to learn how to do it and better myself in this profession to deliver better work for our clients and the community.
How do you define work-life balance and how is it achievable?
I define work-life balance as putting in your time at work (to me that’s 40-45 hours a week) and have time for social, family, friends, sports, hobbies, organization involvement, etc. It is achievable by knowing your boundaries of how much you can work and make sure you find a workplace that has a culture that matches your definition of work-life balance. It is hard to maintain your ideal work-life balance when everyone you work with stays late or come in on weekends, then you will feel pressure to do the same. By choosing a workplace that does have the same idea of work-life balance that matches your definition, you will have a more enjoyable experience.
What is a decision or action you made in school that influenced your trajectory?
Getting involved in AIAS!! It opened a lot of doors for meaningful connections with professors, faculty, professionals, and other students (both at my University and at other colleges). It helped me learn more about the profession, about architecture, how to be a leader, be organized, work with budgets, and so much more. My trajectory is yet to reveal itself, as I am only two years out of school and still determining it, but my involvement with AIAS give me confidence that my future is bright and I will be well prepared however the future turns out!
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.