The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) is excited to announce that Paulina Garza González, she/her, from the Universidad de Monterrey, has been appointed to the 2022-2023 Board of Directors as the Ambassador to the Latin America Region. Paulina will be sworn in for her one-year term at Grassroots 2022 in July. Paulina’s appointment was made following the term of Adan Hernandez, whose service to the AIAS and representation of our international members in Latin America has been incredibly appreciated. Below are Paulina’s responses to our interview questions; please take a few minutes to get to know our new Latin America Ambassador
Please describe as much of your background and architectural education as you’d
I am from Monterrey México, I have always lived here except for my exchange
semester spring of 2020. From preschool to high school I attended the American
School Foundation of Monterrey (ASFM) and graduated class of 2017. At my time at
ASFM, I participated in several extracurricular activities such as TECHO, where we
went to build homes for people, I gave english classes at public schools and since
fourth grade to Bach III, I played at the school’s volleyball team and served as team
captain several years.
When I was going to graduate high school, I wished to study interior design in Italy.
However, being the first child in my family, out of three girls, my parents did not
support the idea of me leaving at such a young age, since it’s not common in Mexico
for people to do that, especially women. So my father convinced me to study
architecture at the Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM), which I don’t regret at all
having done so. I met wonderful people and had incredible experiences. In 2020 I
had the opportunity to go study abroad for a semester to Torino, Italy. Little did I know
COVID – 19 was going to emerge and make my experience a one of a kind. I stayed
the whole semester until my classes were over and returned to Monterrey, where I
finished my bachelor degree just this May 19th.
Now I am eager to see what’s next in my educational life and what the future has to
Is there anything in your past that particularly inspired you to join this profession?
Both my parents are lawyers, I was raised by seeing that and listening to that work
life and I was sure that’s not something that I wanted to pursue in my life. However, I
have always been inspired by European architecture, Mexican pyramids and how
architecture has shaped cities, cultures and people. While volunteering at TECHO, I
was satisfied with the results and the reaction of families when we gave them the keys
to their homes. I also loved that it was a collaborative work, in that case we built the
homes together with the families that were going to live in them. That being said, I
think what inspired me the most was being able to give people spaces where they
can be themselves and make them feel like home.
Please tell us more about your AIAS involvement and any specific programs you’ve
been particularly focused on.
I began my involvement with AIAS by joining the UDEM’S chapter, where I got
elected vice president. I particularly focused on bringing the architecture community
together by creating events where people could learn more about what people have
done and where their career has taken them. Something that brought together
significantly the community was the Mentorship program we created, where people
from all semesters and graduates could interact and learn from each other.
Afterwards, I decided to become a bit more involved by joining the Council of Global
Representatives, and will continue to be part of.
Do you have any goals or intentions for your new Ambassador role?
My main goal is for universities around Latin America to know what AIAS is and
possibly begin their AIAS chapter. I would begin this by contacting universities
around Latin America and talk to them about how they can begin their chapter and
how involved they can be.
I would also intend for the AIAS UDEM chapter to grow and get more involved with
AIAS for them to have more contact with people around the world.
What is the “big picture” impact that you would like to have on the profession OR
that you hope the profession will have on the world?
I hope that architecture becomes more sustainable each time and that cities migrate
to new solutions since we clearly are on a countdown for more and more disasters to
begin to occur if we don’t make a change now. I also hope for the profession to be
more human made. Architects often just build things they consider cool or different,
but some forget that architecture has a human purpose.
Please elaborate on any engagement you have with your community outside of
work/school, or any personal achievements of which you’re proud.
In summer I give swimming lessons to children from 4 – 13 years old. Even though
this has nothing to do with architecture, it is something that I enjoy since the kids
become more and more disciplined each time and learn to listen to rules, be honest
and respect each other. This not only has a positive impact on the kids, but more
importantly it has a bigger one on me. Throughout my five years as a teacher, I has
developed patience and learned how to teach kids even though they all have
different learning styles.
I am also proud of my involvement in the AIAS UDEM chapter, which as a vice
president have helped out grow and create a bigger bond within the student
community. Having taken part of it for a year and a half, we have managed to
establish chapter guidelines that will help out the future generations who will take our
place. We have also set the bar high with the events we have created, so I hope that
the ones that remain and the ones that will continue being part of AIAS UDEM are
able to continue setting the bar high.
Is there anything else our membership should know about you?
I am very glad to have this opportunity, and I hope to give my grain of sand by being
the 2022 – 2023 Latin America Ambassador.
Thank you to Paulina for the time and thought she put into this first introduction to the AIAS membership, and for her interest in representing Latin America and helping to grow the AIAS internationally! We’re so excited for Paulina’s inauguration in July, and for her to be a part of our Re-Union at Grassroots 2022 this summer!