By Ayonna Patterson
This May, the “I Can Be” Architecture Career Day Workshop at Florida A&M University gave young girls a basic understanding of the architecture profession by helping them design a dream house for their dolls.
The workshop, which took place at the FAMU School of Architecture and Engineering Technology, featured faculty, alumni and community partners who are celebrated for their expertise in the field.
The event presented the elementary students with the long history of successful women architects, offered a glimpse into the design process, as well as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) careers. Forty-two girls, ages 7 to 9, who attend FAMU Developmental Research School in Tallahassee participated in the event.
The “I Can Be” workshop is the brainchild of alumna Ayonna Patterson, a community advocate for educational opportunities for girls, who is bringing the program to institutions across the state and as far as Chicago.
Patterson’s personal mission is to help working professionals give back and address the gender imbalance in architecture.
“As a teacher, I think the workshop opened the eyes of the young girls in attendance about the opportunities of a career in architecture,” said Jennifer Schildmeyer, a teacher whose students participated in a previous “I Can Be” workshop. “This was especially impactful for the students that would not have otherwise been exposed to the field.”
Organizers and sponsors for the “I Can Be” Architecture Career Day Workshop included:
- The Consortium for Design and Construction Careers
- Diversitech, Inc.
- Mareta Creations
- Talaya Waller, LLC