March 2023 Chapter Leader of the Month: Donyale M MillerBerkmar High School
Donyale Miller is the Chapter Faculty Advisor for the 1st AIAS High School Chapter in Georgia. She graduated with a BARCH degree from Tuskegee University. She says a little known fact about her is, “I initially went to school to design cars and still love to look and design cars to this day. Since graduating, I have designed and been on design teams for projects that range from residential, multifamily, commercial, and amusement parks. While working on these projects a coworker suggested, who I was teaching AutoCAD, that I would make a good AutoCAD instructor. I decided to investigate it and was offered a position to teach AutoCAD on the collegiate level.”
She has taught at technical and 2 year colleges for over 6 years. Due to the recession, Donyale transitioned to teaching on the High School level. While she was at Berkmar High, I met retired Architect, Rick Sellers, who was part of her advisory board. They were discussing ways to enhance the Architectural experience to students and she suggested starting a High School chapter at Berkmar after seeing on the AIAS site they were now allowing High schools to have an AIAS chapters. She says, “Long story short we became the first High school chapter in Georgia. In our inaugural year we had over 150 students become members. To instill a since of pride in my architecture students for being in my program, the following year I decided to have shirts designed that would reflect their membership in Berkmar’s AIAS High School Chapter. Our school colors are red, white, and blue. The AIAS members decided that shirts for Architecture 1 would be Blue, and Architecture 2 would be Red.”
When reflecting on what it means to have a chapter at Berkmar High School, Donyale says, “Having a AIAS High School Chapter at Berkmar High School has afforded students the opportunity to go to LEED and AIAS South Conferences and explore vast Architectural buildings and colleges throughout the Atlanta Metropolitan area. Such as my former architectural firms, tour Mercedes Benz Stadium, the first professional sports venue in the United States achieve LEED Platinum Certification, and to see firsthand how the “pinwheel” roof works. Due to the number of buildings, we have toured, I was known as the “Teacher that goes on the cool field trips.” We became so popular that the construction students as well as the overall student population were able to attend. Due to my architectural background and Mr. Sellers’ involvement with AIA Atlanta, I was able to have the students compete in the AIA Atlanta High School design competition. Our first Architecture Drafting and Design 2 team for the AIAHS Design Competition came in second place and was awarded a $750 cash prize. Since then, I have incorporated the AIA Design Competition in my curriculum for my Architecture students every second semester. Consequently, they have entered and or placed in the Competition. Due to the number of students interested in becoming Architects we have been able to attend Berkmar High School Architecture and Construction Career Academy. This event is for students who have plans to go to Architecture school or enter the Construction field. We have had as many as 10 students to major in Architecture. ”
This ‘Chapter Leader of the Month’ feature is sponsored by the Benjamin Moore.