ErinCurleyEditor’s Note: Erin officially passed her exams on June 20, 2016. She is now an Architect. Congratulations!

Job Title: Job Captain, RCM Architects & AIA Toledo Chapter, Associate Director

AIA Ohio Involvement: AIA Toledo Chapter, Associate Director and Founder of ENGAGE Studio (a studio focused on ARE preparation and encouragement for Emerging Professionals)

When did you become interested in Architecture?
Subconsciously, as a child.  My interest to draw, build, color, create, and deconstruct led to a focus on art through grade school.  My sophomore year, serendipity struck.  I was presented with alternative electives in lieu of the desired two art classes. Choir, band or drafting.  Well, I knew I was an amazing singer… in my car, by myself; my instrument talent involved playing a bucket; which left one – drafting.  As I told my mother, “but no girls take that class, only boys.”  Let’s make a deal she said. “Try it one semester, if you dislike it, art can be your elective until graduation.”  Done! I knew I would win that battle… or not.  As they say, “mom knows best!”  I now possess an extreme passion for the profession and “LOVE” what I do every day. 

Why is becoming a licensed architect important to you?
ARCHITECT!  So profound and how Wright it sounds.  A profession of passion.  “Earning” my license will be the culmination of my life’s accomplishment thus far.  A title of the elite, backed by competence.  I will have given blood, sweat, and tears to attain the right to say “I AM AN ARCHITECT!”  This title is the golden ticket to Wonka land, filled with a sense of prestige enabling only those who qualify the legacy of enhancing the future of the profession.

What advice or words of encouragement can you give to those who are pursuing the path to licensure?
Stop procrastinating!  There is never a “Good” time to start.  The decision to become an architect is yours alone and once committed, stick with it and power through.  Many before you have defeated the obstacles along the path to licensure. I must emphasize how important it is to become engaged.  Technology is a great tool, but face-to-face interaction is irreplaceable for networking and marketing.  Become involved in AIA, USGBC, schools, universities, community or civil activities.  The connections made through involvement will enhance your growth. 

How important is it is to have role models and mentors? Who are some of yours?
Mentors and role models are different.  A mentor is a guide, while a role model inspires.  I believe both are critical for growth.  I have had the fortunate honor to be inspired and enhance growth at the hands of many.  If not for the unrelenting mentorship of my parents, I would not be writing this.  They have functioned as both mentors and role models, enhancing each decision with visual guidance through the obstacles.  Mr. Miller and Mr. Howard, two H.S. teachers, who formed initial development in drafting and English.  College professors, my NCARB mentor and colleagues are also worth acknowledging.  The team at RCM Architects, especially my current mentor Tracie Carpenter, are continuing to enhance my development.

What is your favorite building in Ohio and Why?
It is hard to narrow down a favorite, as I actually have three, representing different aspects of my life.  However, the most current, is The Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion.  This building allows me to reflect upon my grandmother, creating a personal connection.  Located in “The Glass City”, made of glass and of course displaying glass art, the building allows me to recall the stories she told me of her days working in the decorating department at Libbey Glass.