Congratulations to our 2020 graduates! Read the fourth installment of our series from our 2014 Diversity Advancement Scholar, Robert Moy.
I first entered architecture school as an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Fall semester of 2014. From 2014 to early 2017, I was involved in a student organization named Illinois Solar Decathlon where I worked extensively on the design and construction documentation of three separate net-zero energy housing projects for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Race to Zero Student Design Competition. These three projects conducted over the course of three years aimed to implement innovative sustainable design features and strategies in order to design an aesthetically appealing and marketable net-zero energy home. I had the privilege of serving as the lead project manager from 2016 to 2017, where I honed my leadership skills and worked closely with students from diverse education backgrounds, ranging from architecture to civil engineering and mechanical engineering. In April of 2017, our team traveled to Golden, Colorado to compete in the 2017 Race to Zero Design Competition held at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). My work in Illinois Solar Decathlon has fostered my appreciation for and deepened my fascination into sustainable buildings.
Upon graduating from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s of Science in Architectural Studies (B.S.A.S.) degree in 2018, I moved to Milwaukee, WI to pursue my Masters of Architecture (M.Arch) at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP) at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. During the two years at SARUP, I was a Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate architectural systems courses, teaching content such as HVAC, building envelopes and structural systems. The position was a perfect fit as I had extensive undergraduate coursework in building mechanical and structural systems during my time at the University of Illinois. Being a TA proved to be a very rewarding and wonderful experience. I worked directly with the undergraduate students, explaining assignments, reinforcing lecture concepts and offering feedback on student work. But by far the most rewarding experience was listening to their viewpoints on architecture and design and appreciating the diverse array of perspectives they bring to the table.
During my graduate studies at SARUP, I focused on Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse as my degree concentration. I had the unique opportunity to conduct 3D laser scanning on several historic buildings in the Milwaukee area and create existing drawings for the National Park Service’s Historic American Building Survey (HABS) program, as well as develop a net-zero retrofit proposal for my University’s Architecture building. My Masters’ Thesis project focused on the historic preservation and adaptive reuse of a 20th century warehouse building in Milwaukee.
As all of us have experienced, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our way of life drastically in a blink of an eye. All courses – lectures, seminars and design studios – were abruptly moved entirely online for the remaining 2 months of the Spring 2020 semester. The faculty, including the TA’s such as myself, were forced to quickly adapt and transition our courses to the online format. The pandemic has caused considerable disruption to the overall educational experience for everyone, but despite the circumstances, I was able to finish my M.Arch degree in May 2020 with high distinction.