#FutureArchitectFriday: Makenzie Elam
Hi readers! It’s #FutureArchitectFriday. A day to celebrate those pushing themselves to becoming licensed architects.
Durham, North Carolina
I am currently a 4th-Year Architecture Major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I will graduate in May 2020 with my Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and will begin to pursue my Master of Architecture this summer.
How would you describe your experience as a Black Architecture student?
As a black architecture student, my experience thus fair memorable, but definitely challenging. I have questioned whether this was the right field for me because of the lack of representation in professors and peers. I have always been used to being one of the few black students in class but I thought this would be different for some reason. But through the challenges, I have made everlasting friendships with the other black female architecture students. And at this point, we’re inseparable and about to embark on a journey abroad to Rome, Italy for our last semester of undergrad.
Why do you want to get your license?
I want to get licensed, because I want to create my own future. I want to be able to write my own story and be a creator within my community. I also would like to be able to have the option to be independent and venture out on my own if I don’t want to work for a firm or company. With licensure, I hope to encourage and inspire other black females to pursue architecture and become a licensed architect, to create their own destiny.
My biggest inspirations would have to be my mother and my sister. These last four years for us have been rough; losing my grandparents at the beginning of my senior year of high school and learning to live on my own. Throughout all of it my mother has been one of my biggest supporters and encourager. She pushes me to be the best I can be, even if I feel like a failure. I want to be able to give my mom the life she deserves; carefree with no worries. They both always know what to say or do just at the right times, especially during the most stressful times during the semester. They always say the right thing to make me feel reassured within myself; they let me know I am right where God wants me to be.
How important is representation?
Representation is everything, when we live and work in spaces not built for us, as black females. When I was in high school, looking at possible majors and universities, I didn’t have a black female architect to reach out to about the school or the opportunities available; I only had black males. And as one of the only seven black females in currently within my class of over 40 students, it’s challenging to find someone who understands the struggles that I face within the program. So, I want to be an example and a resource to younger black females looking into architecture; I want them to know that they can make it through. I want them to know that there are black females willing and able to mentor them and help them through their journey. I want it to be known that there are black architects whether through social media or in person.