#MentorMonday: Tasheria Shorts
Welcome to #MentorMonday! Mondays are dedicated to celebrating Black LICENSED Architects, Designers, and individuals in the profession of Architecture!
The questions asked to these individuals are to allow us into their lives and to be used as an inspiration. I hope you all enjoy this series.
Name: Tasheria Shorts
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
What/who sparked your interest in Architecture and when?
During my childhood, I remember admiring my Grandfather and how handy he was. He successfully renovated his own home and turned his garage into an additional two story office. I knew then that one day I too wanted to design my own home. My desire to design for people other than myself came from seeing beautiful buildings through travel and TV. I became determined to create beautiful places that people could be awed by in the same way that I am of others work.
What does it mean to be a black architect/designer to you? Do you feel that you have more responsibility?
Being a black architect will be dreams coming true. That all the sleepless nights and mixed emotions were only stepping stones to greatness. That despite all the odds faced in this profession I made it. A black architect is not the norm, and that’s okay. I personally love being challenged and doing the unexpected; striving to be a black architect is just that: the unexpected and challenging. Because there is so few black people in this profession we do take on more responsibility. We are put in a position where we always have to strive to be the best and reduce our mistakes. We have to constantly prove that we can do the work and that we belong.
What are some obstacles you’ve experienced or currently experiencing as a black architect/designer?
There have been moments where I have felt unprepared,found myself in frustrating situations, and have questioned if I chose the right profession. There have been moments where I’ve felt like a failure and can’t do anything right. I know this is not true and that I can do anything I put my mind to. Time, patience, and good team has shown me that.
Should we ignore race in this profession?
Ignoring race will only ruin all the progress this profession has made concerning diversity. There aren’t a lot of black architects and there are even less black woman architects. We still have a long way to go in order to increase our presence which is only attainable by fostering interest in the black community and motivating those who choose this profession towards licensure.
If you could give advice to a black student in Architecture school right now, what would it be?
When you get out of school you are not going to know everything and there will be a learning curve when you start working in the profession. Find a firm that prioritizes your development, knowledge, and skill set. Don’t get pigeon held, at least not for too long, there’s so much to learn.
Describe a moment you were at your lowest on your pursuit to licensure and how did you overcome it?
My very first ARE 5.0 exam, PPD, I failed. I was completely crushed and overwhelmed by the exam. I felt that I had studied long and hard but I knew once I began taking the exam that it was one I was not ready for. This fail came at a time where I felt like architecture just wasn’t something I was good at. After some motivation from family and friends who are like family I refocused and began studying for my next exams, PCM, PJM, and CE which I passed on the first tries.
How important is representation?
My generation is the future in this profession and it is our job to inspire the next generation. We must show those who are to come after us that there are people who look like them and that they too can become design professionals if they are dedicated and work hard.