SpotlightYouth Spotlight

When it comes to pursuing your passion, Katherine Ball doesn’t hesitate. After reading a book about Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle-based oceanographer, in the sixth grade, Katherine was inspired to study marine debris and its behavior in the oceans. Not only is Katherine now studying physical oceanography at the University of Washington, but she also focused her Girl Scouts Gold Award on researching plastic debris in the Puget Sound. In addition, Katherine recently earned her associate’s degree through the Ocean Research College Academy. Impressed yet?

We are very inspired by Katherine’s determination and passion for marine debris and oceanography, and for the ambition to follow through and desire to make a positive change in the world. Katherine shares with us her experiences at the Ocean Research College Academy, what actions we can take today to create a better tomorrow, and how she defines success.

*The Girl Scouts Spotlight Series is an exclusive weekly Youth Spotlight on amazing young women who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn in the Girl Scout organization.

Name: Katherine Ball
Education: Physical Oceanography, University of Washington class of 2016
Follow: tumblr

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Katherine Ball: Seizing your youth is all about taking your passion, whatever it may be, and doing something with it. Take advantage of being in school, youth groups, scouts, and sport teams. Use the people around you to do something, many of them are willing to help you make an impact or they know someone who is. Use whatever passion you have to get better at it, to solve a small issue, or if you’re really aiming big start to change the world. It doesn’t matter what you do with it, but use that passion for something while surrounded by people who will help.

CJ: You are currently a student at the University of Washington. What are you studying, and what led you to those academic passions? What do you hope to do with your degree once you graduate?

KB: I currently study physical oceanography, basically fluid dynamics. Inspiration for studying marine debris and its behavior in the oceans stemmed from reading a book about Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle-based oceanographer, in sixth grade. While I lived in Idaho at the time, the ocean was something I loved without seeing it. My passion for the topic lead me to understanding that simply researching the issue won’t resolve it, but people can. I hope to work in citizen science to engage adults in the full scientific process. Current citizen science programs revolve around citizens collecting data without following through and getting to see how their contribution impacted the study. I aim to improve that using my passion for marine debris and oceanography.

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CJ: You recently completed an associate’s degree through the Ocean Research College Academy. What did this degree entail and what was this experience like?

KB: Completing my associate’s with the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) was an amazing experience. With the small running start program and an oceanography focus I was able to cover my general college requirements (Political Science/History/English) in small college classes with 40 other high school students. The small classes meant I was able to get any help I needed as well as tie something in each of the classes into the oceanography research I conducted in my science courses. Already having an interest in oceanography I used ORCA’s focus on student-designed research to conduct pioneering research in Possession Sound, a sub-basin of Puget Sound, by working with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. One of the greatest opportunities ORCA gave me was the chance to present my findings at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference 2014 and meet and discuss my research with professional, renowned oceanographers.

CJ: How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts, and what did you love most about being a Girl Scout?

KB: I got started early at age five thanks in part to a family tradition of Girl Scouting. My mom’s side has been active in Washington Girl Scouts since my great-grandmother worked to get girls outside. Being a member gave me the chance to do so many things that pinning down one favorite is nearly impossible. That is probably my favorite thing, do things from fashion shows to fitness days to council philanthropy groups to 90 mile backpack trips. I participated in many of the things Girl Scouts offered and enjoyed every one of them.

CJ: What are the top three lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

KB: 1) Leadership doesn’t mean being in charge. I participated in a lot of leadership opportunities as a Girl Scout but I learned some of the biggest lessons about it by being a team member during camp and on backpacks with YAYA hikers. Having grown up backpacking with my family I had random bits of knowledge and experience to share with the newer-to-backpacking girls on the trip.

2) Being fearless is nearly impossible. I thought I was pretty fearless as a young girl doing so many crazy things but the more things I tried the more I realized it wasn’t fearlessness, it was determination to try something new.

3) Everyone is capable of anything. Not only did I see the impact I could make on people through my Gold Award I also saw myself grow by doing backpack trips I’d never dreamed off.

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CJ: For your Girl Scouts project,  Actions and Oceans: How Our Actions Today Affect the Oceans Tomorrow, you conducted pioneering research on plastic debris in Puget Sound and held events to educate and inspire others. Why did you choose this topic for your project, and what did it entail?

KB: From years of talking to people about marine debris and trying to understand the issue I started to see that a lot of people didn’t know there was an issue, which blew my mind since I had been aware of it for so long. The next point that drove home I could do something with my passion was that those people who did know there was an issue often did not realize they could do something about it on an individual scale. Therefore I decided to bring together local marine protection groups and scientists from local and regional science organizations to talk about different aspects of the issue.

To organize my event I worked with an advisor from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create the best program. Overcoming a few fears of contacting strangers with questions I set up interviews with local organizations to talk to them about their events, primarily what worked and what didn’t work about them. I learned a lot from those interviews and was able to implement some of the improvements into my own event. Based on these interviews I also asked organizations to attend my event and provide information about how attendees could get involved with the organization.

Being in charge of organizing my event gave me a lot of skills, from talking to people to time management to proposing ideas, which are continuing to prove incredibly useful on a regular basis.

CJ: What actions can we do today that will help create a better tomorrow?

KB: The problem with plastic is that the United States, and the rest of the world, has been building a ‘throw-away’ society since the 1960s. The idea of this ‘throw-away’ habitat was advertised as a positive when Tupperware became a thing! Now don’t get me wrong, plastic is an amazing material and it works great for all the things we use it for. I’m not advocating we stop using it, we just need to get better about how we handle it. A throw-away society isn’t something we can stop doing, but as a society we need to figure out how to handle our plastic waste so we can continue to use such a great resource while protecting the environment. So be smart, limit the number of small containers you get, reuse, invest in a good durability water bottle, and recycle as much as possible, at home or in the bin.

CJ: How did you keep your project organized as you were working on it? How did you balance your workload with school, extracurricular activities, etc.?

KB: Since my Gold Award was based on such a huge passion I found ways to combine my school work with my project. By attending ORCA I was given the chance to choose a topic for projects in all of my classes. Therefore, while working on my Gold Award, I researched such things as effective education for citizen science in classes.

One of the biggest things I did to keep myself organized between college deadlines, school, my project, and my research (including conference deadlines) was use giant pieces of poster board to make a calendar for the entire school year. I tend to forget to look at calendars for deadlines, a problem the size solved since it was so large.

Basically my life became distilled down to working on classes, research, and my project which even though it’s not a long list of things left me overwhelmed at times. What I allowed myself to do most often to relax was to go on hikes with my Girl Scout hiking group, the YAYA Hikers. Hiking and being outside with my friends was not only relaxing, but it let me bounce ideas off them if I was stuck on something.

KBall Group

CJ: Do you have mentors? How did you go about finding them?

KB: I have a handful of mentors who have helped me in a lot of areas. For many of them I found them either by directly pursuing my passion or by telling everyone what I wanted to do and being directed to them.

CJ: To you, what does it mean to be a good leader?

KB: There is a lot to being a good leader but there is a quote by Lao Tzu that really rings true to me – “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” Something I have found to be the key is having a passion and inspire others to think and change. Rather than directly telling someone the best way to do it, leading means educating and providing all the information for them to make the decision. Give them some options, but leave it to them to make the final decisions.

CJ: How do you define success?

KB: Seeing the impact of a message is a huge success but for me success is knowing I’ve spread an idea, planted a seed in someone’s head.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

KB: I’m definitely working on using the connections I’ve made through all my projects. Once I’m finished working with someone they often tell me I’m welcome to contact them with questions about other things or for a reference and I forgot to do so, sometimes thinking they wouldn’t remember me. Lately though I’ve been working on projects at the University of Washington that involve bringing together a lot of components.  People from my Gold Award and high school are coming to be crucial. It’s mostly been a curve of learning how to write professional emails that remind people how they know me and quickly getting to the point.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

KB: Don’t let hard times stop you from pursuing your passions. I guarantee you’ll have a hard time with something you’ve always been good at and I totally understand that failing something sucks. When it happens don’t be afraid to talk to people, get help, figure out how to ask for it before college when it gets even harder to find the help you need. And most of all? Just keep going, you’ll learn too much from the hard patch and it might even strengthen your resolve to pursue your passion.

Katherine Ball Qs

Images by Katherine Ball

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

Berkleigh Rathbone has been exposed to the idea of planting, growing, and harvesting plants from her own backyard all throughout her life. When it came time to choosing a project for her Girl Scouts Gold Award, Berkleigh chose to write a book called Karlein’s Pumpkin Patch to teach children about composting, photosynthesis, and other facets of gardening. In the book, a girl named Karlein plants, grows, and harvests pumpkins. The process of creating the book took about 10 months, during which Berkleigh wrote the story, edited, drew illustrations, and worked on the layout of the book.

Higher education is important to Berkleigh, and she is planning on majoring in Psychology at the University of Washington. Having been a part of the Girl Scouts since fourth grade, cookie sales are Berkleigh’s favorite part of Girl Scouts as it helped her hone her entrepreneurial skills. Read on to learn more about this ambitious young woman!

*The Girl Scouts Spotlight Series is an exclusive weekly Youth Spotlight on amazing young women who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn in the Girl Scout organization.

Name: Berkleigh Rathbone
Education: Planning to major in Psychology at the University of Washington

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Berkleigh Rathbone: I define “Seizing Your Youth” as making the most out of your life and actively preparing yourself as a teenager for the increasingly competitive world that you enter in adulthood. Simply said, seizing your youth means seizing the day, every day!

CJ: What will you study at the University of Washington, where you’re starting school in the fall? What led you to those academic passions and why are you choosing to study them in a formal setting?

BR: I am planning to study and get at least a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology since I have always been interested in the mind and how it functions. Higher education has always been important to both of my parents, so I promised them that I would go to college after I finished high school.

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CJ: How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts, and what did you love most about being a Girl Scout?

BR: I joined a Girl Scout troop as a “Junior” in fourth grade. In addition to troop meetings, I loved all of the activities (such as summer camps, weekend trips, troop activities, cookie sales, etc.) that were available to me through scouting. If I had to choose my single most favorite part of Girl Scouts it would be cookie sales – not only are the cookies delicious, but by doing sales I additionally strengthened my interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills.

CJ: What are the top three lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

BR: 1. Always be prepared, no matter what.
2. Volunteering is extremely rewarding.
3. Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

CJ: To earn your Gold Award in Girl Scouts, you wrote a published a book called Karlein’s Pumpkin Patch to teach children about composting, photosynthesis, and other facets of gardening. Your book includes a resource guide with a glossary, discussion questions, and information about donating to food banks so everyone can access fresh produce. You have shared your book with libraries, schools, and food banks throughout the country and via an online video you created. How cool! Why did you choose this topic for your project, and what did the process of putting it together entail?

BR: Choosing a topic for my Gold Award project was hands down the hardest part – I could have chosen to do almost anything! I decided to go with the theme of gardening since both of my parents love to plant and grow vegetables and flowers in our garden. All throughout my life I have been exposed to the idea of planting, growing, and harvesting plants from my own backyard, which is something that I will be forever grateful for. Furthermore, my mom happened to have a rough draft of a story she had written about a girl named Karlein who planted, grew, and harvested pumpkins that she had grown. So the idea to (re)write and illustrate a book for my Gold Award seemed like a no-brainer!

My initial project started out small. I would write, illustrate, and publish my book, put it into a few public locations (schools, libraries, etc.), and wait for readers to respond to discussion questions via an email I put in the back of the book. However, as the project progressed I realized that my project needed more oomph! in order to get necessary quantitative results for my before/after project impact analysis. That’s where the online video and remodified discussion questions, etc. come in.

All in all, this project was probably the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. From the time I stated until the time I finished, the total project time was about 9 to 10 months. Not only did editing the story take time, but so did creating and editing the illustrations, in addition to figuring out the layout of the book. I also put a lot of time into communicating with several different people, mostly by email, in order to sort out different logistics of where to send my book, who to send it to, and how many copies to send.

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CJ: How did you keep your project organized as you were working on it? How did you balance your workload with school, extracurricular activities, etc.?

BR: In order to keep my project organized I put together a list of tasks that I had to do, and in turn organized that list on a timeline in order to get a rough idea of how long my project would take me to complete. As far as balancing my school schedule with my Gold Award project tasks goes, I decided to treat my Gold Award project itself as an extracurricular activity. I had few school obligations and at the time I was not working, which really allowed me to dive into working on my project. Once my Junior year of high school ended I took advantage of my time off from school to catch up on task deadlines and evaluate the progress of my project.

CJ: Do you have mentors? How did you go about finding them?

BR: I’m not quite sure. Yes, I do know a good amount of people, and yes, I have learned quite a bit by talking to these individuals. However, I think that my mentor takes on a more inanimate form: life experiences. By learning from both the mistakes of others (myself included) and also the lucky risk-taking strategies of self-made successful people, I feel as if my life experience of interacting with people and hearing their personal stories has helped to advise me on what steps to take at what times, in addition to how many steps to take at a time without overworking myself.

CJ: To you, what does it mean to be a good leader?

BR: Good leaders are like backbones:

  1. Without good leaders, society, like our body without our spine, could not function.
  2. Good leaders, like our spines, are simultaneously flexible and strong.
  3. Just like how the spine connects the upper and lower parts of the body, good leaders find ways to connect people in a group/society in order to establish a sense of unity.

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CJ: How do you define success?

BR: I define success as meeting/exceeding a previously set goal. For me, success can come in the form of money, health, happiness, wisdom, love, or any other aspect of life that I have my eyes set on improving.

CJ: What is a book you read in high school that positively shaped you?

BR: Tiny Snail by Tammy Carter Bronson – the author actually came to my school when I was in second grade and talked about the process of writing and illustrating her own book!

CJ: What are your favorite books?

BR: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Absent by Katie Williams, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

BR: Break out of your comfort zone. Voice your opinion – if you feel afraid to do so in front of your friends, find new friends. Take advantage of extracurricular activities at school. Meet more people. Spend time cooking meals; enjoy the food that you’re eating. SPEAK UP. And, most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Berkleigh Rathbone Qs

Images by Berkleigh Rathbone

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

The Girl Scouts is an incredible organization that turns young women into leaders. Deelyn Cheng is one of these amazing young women who became involved in the Girl Scouts when her best friends encouraged her to join. She earned her Gold Award by preparing the City of Lakewood for emergency and disaster situations. She took a multi-faceted approach to her project, including educating residents, acquiring emergency kits for local schools, and even designing menus that can feed hundreds of residents for several days in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Pretty great, if you ask us.

Now, Deelyn studies International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington. She has spent time interning and living in Hong Kong, and she is passionate about learning about all things business. Deelyn shares with Carpe Juvenis what she thinks makes a good leader, the lessons she learned from being a part of the Girl Scouts, and that for her, success means “making a positive impact on the world and leaving a legacy.” With determined and caring young women such as Deelyn, the future definitely looks brighter.

*The Girl Scouts Spotlight Series is an exclusive weekly Youth Spotlight on amazing young women who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn in the Girl Scout organization. 

Name: Deelyn Cheng
Education: International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington, Class of 2018

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Deelyn Cheng: Be proactive and seize every opportunity that would develop and enhance one’s identity. It is important take opportunities that prompts you to try new things or to push you closer towards a goal.  There is this quote which I love by Milton Berle: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Time is valuable, so treat it preciously. Go out and find your passion, explore, and reach your full potential. Change the world for the better by turning your dreams and ideas into reality.

CJ: You’re studying International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington. What led you to those academic passions and why are you choosing to study them in a formal setting?

DC: The world is becoming more dependent on globalized trade and investment, and worldwide financial institutions are prominent. I want to contribute and become involved with the international network and I’m very interested in cross-cultural business. A business degree would also provide a strong foundation of skills and knowledge that is applicable to a wide range of careers. From critical and creative thinking to personal development, I am passionate about learning all things business!

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CJ: You are an Investment Assistant Intern at Rongtong Global Investment Limited in Hong Kong. That sounds very interesting. What do your duties entail as an intern?

DC: I assisted colleagues with a variety of tasks including organizing trade settlements in excel, managing an online banking system, reading paperwork, completing office tasks, and proofreading.

CJ: What have you learned from living in Hong Kong? What do you like to do there when you’re not interning?

DC: I learned to have patience, tolerance, and adaptability. The way of life in Hong Kong is extremely different to what I’m used to…a lot of people and very fast paced. However, I just went with the flow, immersed myself in the culture and it worked out just fine! The cuisine in Hong Kong is absolutely spectacular so I spent most of my time eating. If not that, I would be sightseeing.

CJ: Moving to another country for school or an internship can be intimidating and nerve-wracking for some. Did you feel this way? What advice do you have for those who are thinking about living abroad to work or study?

DC: I was a little nervous but was more excited! I would definitely advise them to take the opportunity. It is so valuable to see and experience different cultures, especially when you can stay in a place for longer periods of time. Have an open-mind and don’t be afraid to try new things. And take every event (positive or negative) as a learning experience!

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CJ: How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts, and what did you love most about being a Girl Scout?

DC: My best friends were in a troop and encouraged me to join. I loved the opportunities it gave me! I had the chance to lead, learn, experience new things, and meet new people that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I also greatly enjoyed camping-nothing better than sitting around a campfire singing songs with your best friends!

CJ: What are the top three lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

DC: Have patience, be confident, and help others!

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CJ: To earn your Gold Award in Girl Scouts, you set out to better prepare the City of Lakewood for emergency and disaster situations. You took a multi-faceted approach to your project, including educating residents, acquiring emergency kits for local schools, and even designing menus that can feed hundreds of residents for several days in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Why did you choose this topic for your project, and what did the process of putting it together entail?

DC: I believe people need to be prepared. They need to have the information and knowledge so they can be ready when an emergency happens. I feel that knowing about First Aid and how to help people is very important. My mom’s family is from Thailand, and when the tsunami hit, I thought it was interesting to watch the process of aid. Global issues interest me, and I wanted to share that locally.

Lots of meetings! I honestly enjoyed them though. I had the opportunity to interact and connect with people which I love to do. I focused on using my organization and time management skills to orderly conduct my project. This includes identifying who I would work with, steps I would take, and not having a delay to take action. Additionally, I communicated with my advisor, my troop, and others who helped me. I also prepared the teaching/presentation materials and activities I would use for the public and the students to educate them and raise awareness. I assigned tasks to my team, and was able to take action and lead a sustainable project.

CJ: How did you keep your project organized as you were working on it? How did you balance your workload with school, extracurricular activities, etc.?

DC: I had to really focus and hone my time management skills. I’m a visual person so I kept a planner. I allotted specific amounts of time for different tasks. However, I would sometimes procrastinate or underestimate the time to complete a task, but this project was definitely a learning process!

CJ: Do you have mentors? How did you go about finding them?

DC: My mentors constantly change-they depend on the time and situation. I believe life puts you in a situation where you build relationships with the people around you and a mentor-mentee relationship will naturally form.

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CJ: To you, what does it mean to be a good leader?

DC: A good leader wants to serve and tries their hardest to make the best out of a situation for themselves and others. They make dreams and ideas become reality. And leaders follow their heart, but always do the right thing even when it is hard.

CJ: How do you define success?

DC: Overall, I believe happiness equates to success. Success is when we reach the point of living the life we truly want/desire, and found and fulfilled our purpose in life. Lastly, making a positive impact on the world and leaving a legacy should be part of someone’s success story!

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

DC: Be more diligent in learning and retaining a language. I wish I had focused on learning Mandarin.

Deelyn Cheng

Images by Deelyn Cheng

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

It’s always great meeting ambitious youth because it makes us motivated to do more. One of these go-getters is Chris Morgan, a student at the University of Washington and the director and founder of HuskyCreative. Chris is a writer, a musician, and a constant learner. He not only runs HuskyCreative, but he’s involved with the Pearson Student Advisory Board, works as a programmatic media specialist at Drake Cooper, and he somehow manages to find time to complete his homework. Oh, and did we mention that he is also writing a novel? We were fortunate to pick up some time management tips from Chris (note to selves: stock up on legal pads!), discover how he balances college with his jobs and activities, and hear more about what his post-graduation plans are. Chris seizes his youth, and he does it with a can-do, positive attitude. Now, get ready to take some notes…

Name: Christopher Morgan
Age: 21
Education: B.A. in Business Administration: Marketing from the University of Washington
Follow: HuskyCreative | Twitter

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Chris Morgan: Seizing your youth is about action. It’s about doing something. I know a lot of people who have great ideas, but the difference between the people who are hailed as seizing their youth and people who don’t is just the fact that they went and did something. Millennials are the generation to not get a job, so we made our own. I think that’s really cool – not the part about us not getting jobs – but we have the most entrepreneurs of any generation and we get out there and do things with our own ideas. Seizing your youth is doing something now.

CJ: You are majoring in Business Administration: Marketing at the University of Washington. What does this major involve and how did you determine what to study?

CM: I was originally a Music composition and Creative Writing double major. I wrote music a lot and it was going to be my career for the longest time, but as soon as I tried to make money off of it, I started getting really stressed out. It was hard for me to do creative work and have that be the way to put food on the table. I looked for other occupations that had that creative influence but wasn’t personal or my work really, and that’s how I found marketing. I can be creative but I still have time to do my personal creative work on the side. I made the major switch in the middle of my freshman year. It was a natural shift for me and it felt right. I was writing better as soon as I took that stress off.

CJ: What has been your favorite college class?

CM: I have two, for very different reasons. One is a branding class that I took this past year with a professor who really understood branding and how to talk to undergraduates. It was originally a graduate course, but he wanted to teach it to undergrads. He showed a lot of faith in young people. He said that there’s no difference between graduate students and undergraduates students, we just know less. Graduate students are earning their MBAs and have worked in the field, so they think that they know a lot. The cool thing about the class is that he knew we didn’t have that preemptive knowledge. We didn’t start class thinking we knew everything. We had an open mind and it was a really fun class.

The other class was one I took in Singapore. It was hard and awful. I learned so much from failing. I was in a foreign country and didn’t know anybody, and I did horribly in the class. But I know so much about that topic now – it was about Game Theory in terms of marketing and using strategic negotiation tactics. It was way above my head. But now we talk about it in classes, and I know more about it.

CJ: You studied abroad at the National University of Singapore. Why did you choose Singapore and how was that experience?

CM: I was between two options – I could go to Singapore or Sydney. I thought that Sydney was too close to the culture I had grown up in, and the culture I had never experienced before was Eastern culture. It was really the only opportunity where I could dive in and experience it. I chose Singapore, and I think it was completely the right decision. You learn so much about your own country and culture by visiting another. I understand education a lot better, actually. I got to see how Eastern culture education differs from Western culture education. That was one of the coolest things that came out of my experience, learning how two people can learn so differently.

Chris Morgan

CJ: You can speak Spanish fluently. What language-learning tips do you have for those who are interested in learning how to speak another language? Are there any other languages you want to learn?

CM: Yes, definitely! I want to learn Italian. When it comes to speaking a language, the only way to succeed is to speak the language. It’s about not being afraid to speak in front of other people. When you’re more confident in yourself and practicing a language, you will speak the language better. I think classes are better than a book and a tape because in classes you can talk to other people. If you do use a book or tape, talk to a friend or to yourself alone a lot.

CJ: You mentioned you work with Pearson. What is your involvement with them?

CM: I work for the Pearson Student Advisory Board, which is a board of students from around North America who have been selected to advise on education. Pearson recognizes that education will be changing with the new generation and technology. They are bringing in students to advise their development and business. I’ve really enjoyed it.

CJ: You were a programmatic media specialist at Drake Cooper, a marketing services company. What is a programmatic media specialist?

CM: Programmatic media is new form of media buying that is more personalized and digitally enhanced so we can learn about impressions. When you click on an ad, I can tell where you’re from, how much money you make, whether you have kids or a family, what kind of products you buy, etc. It allows companies to save money because they can pick who they send ads to. It’s more efficient for the companies, and in my opinion, better for the consumers because you’re not being spammed ads for things you don’t care about.

CJ: You have had multiple marketing internships. What experiences have been your favorite, and what were the biggest takeaways from those experiences?

CM: One of the more defining internships was the one I had at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. It was one of my first internships, and the best thing that they ever did was let me have autonomy. They let me own something. They let me dictate the success or failure of a project. It teaches you a lot about taking ownership and being creative with your ideas. A lot of first internships entail getting coffee and managing a calendar. Having autonomy was important for me because it helped me understand how to be successful.

I worked on organizing events. I worked on live event marketing, and I got to take on projects by myself and have a real impact.

CJ: You are the Director and Founder of HuskyCreative, a not-for-profit advertising agency at the University of Washington AMA chapter. What responsibilities do you have as the Founder and Director?

CM: When I started HuskyCreative, I had worked in marketing but not advertising. I didn’t know anything when I started. I was the finance guy, the HR guy, and the Creative Director. It was such a growing experience. I was a totally different person then. It was such a ride. Our first client was Shell Oil, which was awesome and scary. We had no idea what we were doing, but we used that to our advantage because we created a campaign that nobody else had done.

We exclusively hire college students because their opinions aren’t tainted by past experiences. They have a fresh look, and that’s how we succeeded at first. Hiring the first people was new, managing finances, writing contracts, this was all new to me.

For what I do now, it’s pretty similar but it feels like less because I know what I’m doing. Instead of writing the first contract, I’m taking the contract I’ve already written. A lot of my work is managerial, and I don’t do a lot of ad work. But I love it, and it’s been really incredible. This next year we’re trying to build a collegiate network of creative agencies. We’ll be a support group for people who want to do what I do or who want a creative agency at their university. It’ll be a really exciting year for us.

Chris Morgan 2

CJ: You have one more year until you graduate. Is HuskyCreative something you want to do after you graduate?

CM: The goal of HuskyCreative is to be an experience for the students. The reason we started the agency is because of the first job paradox: “This is an entry level position, but we’d like you to have two years of experience.” When people graduate from school, they might not have that job experience and they might not have been taught the correct things about the ad world, so we wanted to create a place where students could get this experience.

I want somebody else to take my job because this experience shouldn’t just be my own. I hope that it continues on for many years. We built it to be sustainable over the years. We want to help people gain experience so that they can get a job.

CJ: Music is one of your passions. How does music play a role in your life?

CM: I started playing the piano when I was four, and when I was eleven I started playing the improv jazz saxophone. I write a lot of piano music, and I have written a symphony. I’m working on my second one now. A lot of my writing isn’t jazz, but it’s my favorite thing to play.

CJ: You’re a writer. Tell us about the novel you are working on.

CM: I am working on a science fiction novel. I’ve been working on it for too long now. With running the company, I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and write. I’m awful at just sitting down to write. I’ve heard many times that you can write a story as an architect or a gardener. As an architect, you write an outline and construct the character story arcs. Or you’re a gardener and you have an initial idea and just start writing. It’s hard for me to let things just happen, so I spent a lot of time building the story before actually writing it.

CJ: What is your favorite book?

CM: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

CJ: What is your favorite magazine?

CM: Ad Age.

CJ: How do you balance being a college student with all of your jobs and activities?

CM: School comes first. You’re at school to learn. Passion helps with balancing. You’ll find that you’re more stressed out when you have obligations that you’re not passionate about. I wouldn’t try to fit in writing music or my novel if I didn’t love doing those things. Time management is awful, it’s hard, and there’s no one trick that I have. I just keep doing things because I love them.

CJ: How do you plan out your days?

CM: I plan things out on a week-by-week basis. I am notorious for making lists. I love legal pads. I carry mine around with me everywhere. I structure my calendar around my weekly goals. I like the structure and pre-planning for what I have to get done.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

CM: I work a 9-5, so I go to work. I have a separate to-do list for work, where I set up what I need to get done hour to hour. As soon as I get off work, I shoot off emails for HuskyCreative, sometimes I have meetings. I’ll have dinner, take some time to relax, and then I’ll usually do more work for HuskyCreative, and then write. I try to end my day with writing, it’s relaxing and is something I enjoy.

When school is in session, it’s a little more hectic because I’ll be running from classes to meetings. I’m usually working or in class all day. I try to finish as much as I can before dinner. It’s important to have an hour or two to just do whatever you want, whether that is writing or watching movies with friends. Whatever it is, you need that time.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

CM: Have action. In high school I had a lot of time. I had the original idea for my book in high school, and that would’ve been a great time to get started writing it. I had a lot of hesitancy, and I thought the idea was enough. It’s hard to have that motivation all the time, but if you have an idea and are passionate about it, do something about it. Everybody has ideas, but not everybody does something about it.

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

She’s the Director of Marketing for Minyawns, a fashion blogger, a visual stylist intern at Nordstrom, and a Carpe Juvenis contributor. Is there anything this girl can’t do?! Whitney Cain has impressed us since Day 1. She is currently student at the University of Washington while also being heavily involved in outside activities and businesses. She’s fun to be around, smart, and has loads of energy. Her love of fashion and photography is apparent in her blog, and she dresses to impress (no wonder Nordstrom snatched her up!). At just 20 years old, Whitney definitely knows how to seize her youth, and we can all learn a thing or two from her. Continue reading to learn more about this awesome go-getter…

Name: Whitney Cain
Age: 20
Education: B.A. in Marketing from the University of Washington, Minoring in Earth and Space Sciences (just for kicks)
Follow: Whits About Her

How do you define ‘seizing your youth’?

I define seizing my youth as taking advantage of all opportunities presented and in the process, learning more about myself through the exploration of personal interests. In your youth, I think it is imperative to try everything and just go places because there will be no other time in our lives when we will be handed the freedom of youth and gifted the lack of responsibility.

You are majoring in Marketing at the University of Washington. What does this major involve and how did you determine what to study?

This major involves studying all the different forms of business (such as accounting, finance, management) while focusing primarily on the study of marketing. It is extremely difficult to be admitted into the Foster School of Business and I consider my admittance one of the proudest moments of my life. In addition to majoring in Business Marketing, I am also pursuing a minor in Earth and Space Sciences, just for kicks. I have also been interested in science and specifically geomorphology, so I thought what better chance to explore that interest while also getting to go on various field trips across our beautiful state. In one of my classes we actually drove out to Leavenworth, Washington and drove up this hill overlooking the city. It had one of the most beautiful views and is now one of my favorite spots to go if I ever find myself out East.

You have had multiple marketing and social media internships. What experiences have been your favorite, and what were the biggest takeaways from those experiences?

I have! It is really difficult at our young age to really know what we are interested in most or what we actually excel at. With this in mind, I thought I’d try a smattering of different internships to better figure out what I am actually intrigued by and what actually interests me. That’s the whole point of internships! My favorite has probably been my last internship with a social media marketing firm.

As ironic as this may sound, I personally dislike all forms of social media but for whatever reason, am really good at doing the social media for companies. To make it even more confusing, I like it. Not a clue why! This just goes to show that although I would’ve initially thought I wouldn’t be suited for social media marketing, it looks like I am. So try things people! For crying out loud I worked in the regulatory department of a chemical distributor for six months. I have ample reporting abilities and a ridiculous amount of acronyms to show for it!

You were the Vice President of Alumni Relations and Sponsorship at UW’s American Marketing Association. What have you learned from your experience with AMA?

The AMA has been one of the best organizations I have ever been part of. I feel like I say this a lot, and about a lot of things, but if you were to ask me if I thought joining a club was a good idea a couple of years ago, I would’ve said no. But then again, I didn’t really know what I was doing or what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. I joined the AMA this year thinking that it would be a great opportunity to network and meet a lot of professionals who could hopefully hook me up with a sweet job. I got that, and a whole lot more.

Being part of this club has opened an unbelievable amount of doors for me and really polished my professional persona. Not to mention holding a VP title as a student says a lot about your work ethic and get’s the conversation going. Being a VP has brought me internships, professional contacts, close friends, and even hooked me up with a start-up that wanted to hire me on as their director of marketing. Boom. Being a member of a club or organization in college gives you credibility that you can’t get anywhere else. If I were to recommend anything to anyone wanting to go into business, I’d tell them to join a club and to have fun with it. Big things can happen.

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You recently started a fashion blog called Whits About Her. Where does your love of fashion come from?

It’s funny but I don’t really know! I’ve always just been fascinated with fashion and everything to do with beauty and as a youngster I was constantly getting into my Mom’s makeup stash that I actually ruined half of it experimenting but that’s another story.. I started asking for magazines and fashion books for Christmas and started building up an encyclopedia of designers and fashion houses. From there I’ve just kept learning and reading and blog following! I was told repeatedly that I should start a fashion blog and I kinda thought, hey why not! I am a photographer on the side so I’ve acquired an eye for the kind of thing. It’s a great little hobby and a great excuse to go shopping (not that I’m condoning excessive spending, but, kinda).

You are the Director of Marketing for Minyawns. What is Minyawns and what responsibilities do you have as the Director of Marketing?

Well hey! This is that start-up I was talking about! Minyawns is an easy to use on-demand website for students to find work or help fast. It was created by a friend of mine, and UW engineering grad, Billy Sheng in August 2013. What originally started as an e-mail list has now blossomed into a full-blown business with over 215 companies and 500 Minyawns! As Director of Marketing, my responsibilities are building out both the business side and Minyawns directory (aka students). I’ve already revamped all social media outlets and manage all online communications!

The next step is to build out the PR end and create a marketing plan that can be replicated on other campuses as we expand. Being part of a start up has been a serious crash course in extreme time management and responsibility for me. I set my own hours, determine my own course of action, and set all goals for myself. It’s been a great experience and I’m still learning. It’s really cool to be tied to something that is gaining some serious traction, with some thanks to the work I’m putting in. I’m actually flying out to Fresno, where Minyawns is headquartered to set more long term goals! I’m going on a work trip… How weird does that sound for a 20 year old? At least I look 23 (I’m told).

This summer you are going to be a Visual Stylist for Nordstrom. How did you go about securing the internship, and what will it involve?

The world may never know! From my assessment, it was most likely a number of things and I will rate them in order of my perceived impact. Most importantly, I have done some visual merchandising work when I was at The Land of Nod so I was able to talk to the fact that I had been given and trusted with that sort of responsibility. A close runner up is the fact that I run a fashion blog, Whit’s About Her. If you’re a slave to your craft, you are willing to go the extra mile. I went that mile, and 34 feet.

Thirdly, a close work acquaintance, and personal mentor (whether she knows it or not), works at Nordstrom corporate and she sent over this incredible recommendation letter to the hiring manager. It really does pay to know people. You can totally quote me on that. As a creative human, I also tricked out my resume in Photoshop and dressed impeccably. Dress for your dream job. You can quote me on that too.  My internship will involve styling and designing all of the visual merchandising for the downtown Seattle Nordstrom. Its gunna be pretty sweet, I’m not gunna lie.

What are three traits that make a rockstar intern?

Resilience, energy, eccentricity. I’ll speak to that last one. I’m more of an introvert, but have found that when I pair my energy with a dash of my peculiar personality, I am memorable, mentionable, and typically liked (I mean this is the professional world, of course). If you’re willing to put yourself out there and be assertive as an intern, it shows management that you want and are excited to do more.

How do you balance being a college student with all of your jobs and activities? What are your time management tips?

Writing things down. I always have a lot going on in this head of mine so it is really easy to forget things. I’ve started journaling, list making and planning like a crazy person in order to keep track of everything. I am a purveyor of sticky notes and notebooks!

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What does a day in your life look like? How do you plan out your days?

I literally live the busiest life. I do a lot and I like to have a lot of fun. A typical day looks like class, emails, class, social planning for Minyawns, class, meetings, meetings, studying, go out. It’s mildly chaotic but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

When you are not interning, working, or going to school, how else do you like to enjoy your time?

I’m a runner. I enjoy nothing more than getting out and exploring the many trails and scenic routes Seattle has to offer. I’ve also recently gotten into hot yoga! I used to think yoga was for shmucks but I’m totally shmucking it now.

What would be your go-to summer internship outfit for when it’s burning up outside but air conditioned inside the office?

I am currently obsessed with (and stocking up on) track pants. Although the typical 9-5 uniform is constraining, tight, and highly uncomfortable, I beg to differ. Screw that. If I cant do activities in it, I’m not gunna wear it!  I recently just got a pair of silk track pants that feel incredible and also look incredible, the ideal combo. Pair them with flashy flats or heels if you’re feeling ambitious and a simple t-shirt. Easy, classy, and modern. Boom.

What motivates you?

It is often said those who have overcome adverse situations at a younger age are unbelievably motivated and successful in their latter years. I can totally attest to that. The recession was incredibly detrimental to my family and  as a result, we found ourselves homeless. Overcoming the financial obstacles has taught me many things but most importantly, the importance of higher education. My parents, neither of which attended college, vehemently urged me to pursue college as a way to secure a comfortable future for myself.

I knew that getting into college with a substantial scholarship would require substantial motivation and effort. Hard work really does pays off and I got into UW with 75% of my tuition covered. I am always looking for ways to improve myself as a person and have found that surrounding myself with remarkable individuals is one of the best ways to do so. One of my closest friends is one of the smartest people I know: pursuing a double major, being heavily recruited by the big four, and a former national spelling bee champ. She is also extremely sarcastic, caring, and straight up gorgeous. She’s remarkable and motivates me to every day.

For me motivation is entirely intrinsic and I am motivated every day to do whatever I can to improve the lives of others for this reason.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Care less about what others think. It’s taking me till just recently to realize that at the end of the day, the thoughts of others should not take precedence over my own. I wish I would’ve let my freak flag fly from day one! I’ve come to realize that when you start to think of your self as more of an individual, your eyes are opened to the world! I used be really skilled at origami but never told a soul for fear it would be considered dorky. What the heck Whit?! Who cares! Take a page from my book and fold away my friends, fold away.

Read Whitney’s work here.

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

As a marketing professional, Kara Drinkard has had many great experiences with internships and jobs since graduation from the University of Washington. After starting as a business major, Kara soon realized that she was more passionate about Communications, which combined her business and marketing interests. Not only has Kara had a great career so far (she’s only 28!), her experiences in high school and college helped to shape her life today. One of these experiences includes building houses in Mexico, which was life changing for her. We had the opportunity to talk to Kara about what motivates her, how she manages her time, and what advice she has for those interested in marketing. Read on to learn more!

Name: Kara Drinkard
Age: 28
Education: B.A. in Communications from University of Washington with a Certificates of Sales from Foster School of Business
Follow: Twitter

How do you define seizing your youth?

I was blessed growing up because I went to a lot of summer camps, went to Mexico to build houses, and was really involved with the Boys and Girls Club. I was the President of the Youth Board there. We had weekly meetings and did community service activities. Take advantage of any kind of opportunity you have when you’re a teenager, and even before that. It sounds so cliché, but also seek out opportunities and get outside of your comfort zone. If something makes you feel uncomfortable in a good way, you will probably have a great learning experience. Taking opportunities that you have when you’re younger, or seek out things you can do to be active in your community.

What did you major in at the University of Washington and how did you determine what to study?

I majored in Communications, as well as the Sales Program through the business school. I originally started out as a business major, thinking I was going to go that route. I started taking all of the classes, absolutely hated accounting, and then realized how many more math and statistic classes I would have had to take, so I switched majors.

Communications was a great marriage between what I liked about business and marketing. Somewhere in my first year, I went the Communications route. I ended up doing the Sales Program because it was a good opportunity to get the business degree in with my Communications degree. If your school offers a program like that, I recommend taking it.

What made you interested in studying Communications?

I’ve always been interested in marketing, but also in how people work and how they work together. I’m also interested in how brands and companies make things work. I’ve always been creative and artsy. I’m not an artist, but I like being creative and being involved with business. I don’t think there was one thing that made me want to go that route, but with my creative mind and organized, planner-type personality, it felt natural.

What advice would you give teenagers or young adults who are interested in marketing?

Take every opportunity you have. Do job shadows with someone in marketing, internships, or meeting with someone in a position you want. Make school a priority. Push yourself, and if you can, go to college and get your degree. Even if not just for the sake of getting a job, go to college for the experience. Meet everyone you can in the industry that you are interested in.

Were there any high school or college experiences you had that were most memorable or life changing?

For me, building houses in Mexico in high school was life changing. We stayed in an area that was basically a landfill, and being exposed to the different lifestyle was eye-opening. It shed some light on being grateful for what we have, and it makes you want to work harder to make your dreams happen. I did that in high school three times, so that was a big one.

In college, my internship at KOMO TV was a big one. It was fun to be around the news anchors and have stuff going on all the time. Not only did I end up working part-time for the radio promotions staff, but I am still in contact with the people I worked with. That was a really great people experience.

What motivates you?

I have big expectations for myself and the type of life I want to live. I want to travel and have a successful career and make things happen in the companies I work for, so the idea of not wanting to regret or look back on anything in my life and wishing I had done something. You only get one chance to do what you want to do in your life, and if your situation is not good, do what you have to do to make it right.

You are in control of your destiny, and no one can change your situation but you. I am the one who is going to ultimately determine what I do with my life. I don’t want to be 80-years-old and look back with regret.

How do you know when your gut is right, and how do you distinguish between your head and your heart?

That’s a hard one. A lot of times, when you have a gut feeling, there are other signs that go along with it. There might be little hints and clues as to why something might not be right for you. If your gut senses hesitation, listen. If your gut is just nervous because you’re outside of your comfort zone, push yourself and don’t make excuses. When your brain and your gut together are questioning something, that’s when you need to listen to it. Sometimes it is hard to determine and you don’t always know.

How do you stay organize and how do you time manage?

I’m old school and I like to have a notebook. I’ll write down everything I need to do each day, and then create plans for everything. Whether it’s creating a calendar or timeline, I love to do those things. I use my phone to set reminders for myself. I don’t use any fancy apps, I just write things down and keep everything in order and moving along.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

I would tell myself to always trust my gut, whether it’s a work or personal situation. You know what’s best for you. I’ve always wanted to live in Southern California, and even though I applied and got into colleges there, I stayed here where my family and long-term boyfriend were. If you have the opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do, do it and do what’s best for you. Sometimes you have to think about yourself.

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Being an architect requires much more than just designing buildings. Being an architect involves understanding a vision, asking lots of questions, and turning all of that information into a reality. J Irons, the interim executive director at the American Institute of Architects in Seattle, does exactly this. He asks questions, evaluates each situation, and turns ideas into a reality. J’s road to architecture is unique, and it took a lot of hard work and soul searching for him to realize his passions. J’s advice and thoughts about what it means to be an architect in this day and age is remarkable and thoughtful, and those interested in architecture as a profession or a hobby can learn a lot from his insight. Read on to learn more about how J got to where he is today, the advice he would give to those who are interested in architecture, and what he would tell his 20-year-old self…

Name: J Irons
Age: 39
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Landscape Architecture from University of California, Berkeley; Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington
Follow: AIA Seattle / Design in Public

How do you define ‘seizing your youth’?

Capitalize on inspiration. There are lots of opportunities to explore the world. There are always more questions than answers. What stops most young people from really exploring those opportunities are preconceptions they have about what friends or family might think. It’s really important to respond to an inner voice and drive and take some chances.

You attended University of California, Berkeley and majored in Landscape Architecture. How did you determine what to study?

The road to Landscape Architecture actually went through an engineering field. I thought I was going to design sailboats. Instead, I started to go down a different path. Landscape Architecture was the perfect cross-section of creativity, working with people, and being outside.

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How did you become interested in architecture?

One of my professors pulled me aside and suggested I might try architecture, and he asked if I would consider switching to the architecture program. It’s really flattering to have a professor take an interest and to think that I had some aptitude. I didn’t end up taking him up on it during my undergraduate studies.

The longer backstory to becoming an architect is that in the time between undergraduate and graduate, I was doing some soul searching. I was a foreman on a small crew and I was asking myself bigger questions – questions that couldn’t be answered on a residential scale. I decided to revisit some of my undergraduate teachings and discovered co-housing. One of the founders of the American CoHousing movement, Kathryn McCamant, gave a lecture that I saw. I phoned her up and asked about the internship program, met with her husband, and he decided to take me on for an internship. However, he encouraged me to get a degree in architecture.

I went from their office to the Berkeley campus admissions and asked for an application packet. I sat down and filled one out. I realized through the course of that internship at the CoHousing Company that architecture represented the next obvious step in my development as a professional.

You studied architecture for your Masters degree at the University of Washington. Please tell us about that experience.

I started graduate school in 2001 after moving up from San Francisco. I started studying Architecture in the three-year program, which was for people with non-Architecture backgrounds. I knew already that I wanted to become an architect.

What does it mean to be an architect?

Helping connect people’s ideas to change in their environment. For most of my professional design career I’ve worked with individuals on behalf of organizations, which is a more complex challenge than helping individuals translate vision into reality. Being an architect is really about deep empathy. It’s about expansive creative thinking. It’s about iterative process. It’s about leaving your ego at the door.

Successful design is not about the architect, but instead it is about the process that is created around the challenge of architecture and design. For me, being an architect is about asking expansive questions. It’s not about relying on the tenets of architecture, but it is about relying on commonly held principles that span the fields of design. I am constantly searching for opportunities to help resolve issues which are inherently interdisciplinary in nature and require a collaborative team effort to achieve.

What does being an Interim Executive Director at AIA Seattle entail?

It entails running two organizations, AIA Seattle and Design in Public. AIA Seattle is a 501c6 and Design in Public is a 501c3 so they have slightly different implications based on their tax designation. There is one staff, two boards of directors, and two organizations with distinct missions. I am responsible for the finances of both organizations, working with the boards of directors to enhance revenue, managing expenses, and thinking strategically about current and future programming.

I am also responsible for enhancing membership, working with components outside of AIA Seattle, maintaining our relationship with our state component, and dealing with a whole range of various member issues. I’m where the buck stops when it comes to people who have problems with how the organization is being run or with their member services.

Lastly, I have the great pleasure of working with specific member committees that are charged with everything from public policy to diversity in our profession to honoring our Fellows and others through our various awards programs. I also maintain a relationship with the University of Washington.

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Before becoming Interim Executive Director at AIA Seattle, you were a Senior Associate at Mithun. The types of projects you were involved with included K-12 Education, Environmental Education, and Adaptive Re-Use. How did you decide to focus on these projects and what were your roles and responsibilities?

I happen to gravitate towards education and other mission-driven project types. Within mission-driven you have everything from environmental education to community facilities to religious facilities to tribal facilities to K-12 and higher education. I gravitated towards those projects as a natural outgrowth of my desire to connect with others in an environment that was mission-focused. I make decisions based on that value set, and I felt it most rewarding to engage with others in that design conversation. Those are the client types that really resonated with me, and it just so happened that the folks I enjoy working with are also mission-driven. We tend to get along great.

What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned from being an architect?

I realized how little I know about the world and how it works. There is something amazingly humbling about talking with people about their experiences, their challenges, and how they express those through design conversations. I was asking what the role of the architect is in society from the very first class I had in design. Where does design fit in conversations that are held in society in general? When you start to elevate individuals to certain professional designations, what does that really mean? What conversations do they then serve as facilitators of, what results do they serve as authors to, and what is the course of their evolution in terms of becoming more effective at doing what their title says they do?

What I’ve learned about the role of the architect in society is that contrary to how architects saw themselves historically, architects today see themselves very much as an integral component and a steward of conversations around the built environment. We’re no longer in positions of chief authorship. We’re in a position of a more horizontal structure of a whole variety of disciplines from finance, building, engineering, ownership, and the sciences. In order to be successful, the role of the architect really needs to find the most advantageous ways of engaging those perspectives and leveraging them to bear on the challenge at hand.

What advice do you have for teenagers and young adults interested in being architects?

There are a couple of things and this changes as I go through my professional life. At this moment, I would seek out opportunities starting in junior high school which can put you in contact with any conversation about design. It’s not so much about to start practicing as it is to start learning how to ask questions and how to hone perception. Those are skills that really can’t be taught, but they can be learned and facilitated at an early age. Junior high school is a really great place to start. Students generally have the maturity and focus to be able to engage in complex issues, and adults see students of a certain age as being capable of absorbing new information and listening to stories.

The other thing that I would do is to really start to figure out what motivates you about the world. How do you engage with the world and how do you begin to find a voice for that? I’m painting architecture to be a very neutral discipline, floating in a sea of other disciplines. The talents of an architect are most effective when that person is aware of the difference between the inside and the outside, how the inner voice compares to and contradicts the outside voice.

Having a strong inside voice and a strong sense of self is something that if you can begin to consciously pay attention to earlier, it will naturally grow with you. It will also serve you incredibly well in any conversation around design because you’ll always be conscious of the voices telling you something in your head versus the voices around you that are informing what it is that you are doing in the world.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

I was doing everything that I thought I should be doing at the time. I was exploring my world and challenging my perceptions. I was constantly experimenting. If anything, I might temper the creativity with an eye for the marketplace. I don’t mean that I wish I had created products for sale, but more to be conscious of the market dynamics in which I was starting to work. I was so heavily focused on design, materials, craft, culture, and history that I wasn’t able to really embrace business and the marketplace.

I think I might have started my own company and I’d be in a really different place right now. If anything, I’m offering that advice to my 20-year-old self as an experiment because I wonder how that person’s life would have turned out if there had been more of a balance between business and practice.