#FutureArchitectFriday: Ciera Jones

Hi readers! It’s #FutureArchitectFriday. A day to celebrate those pushing themselves to becoming licensed architects.

Name:

Ciera Jones

 

Hometown:

York, Pennsylvania

 

Educational Status:

Last Semester of my Bachelor of Science – Architecture and Environmental Design Major at the Illustrious Morgan State University

 

How would you describe your experience as a Black Architecture student?

Transformational…? I come from York, Pennsylvania, so typically, I would be one out of two black students in my classes. When I started Project Lead the Way for architecture in high school, I was the only one. I never noticed it too much, but there were differences, such as not even knowing what an architect was when I started the program. These classes for me were an opportunity to try something new, but I don’t think I knew what exactly I was getting myself into… all the late nights. As a black and female student, I will always have to work ten times harder. It’s worth it, though, and not just from an architecture perspective. I think I have become a more well-rounded person because architecture makes you network, touch on the business side, and there are so many avenues that you can travel down. We always say once you have the architecture mindset, even if you choose not to continue, you will always have it forever. 

Why do you want to get your license?

Well, for one, it’s crucial to me. I didn’t come all this way, and most importantly, lose all of this SLEEP, to not be able to call myself an ARCHITECT/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT officially! If there comes the point where I don’t want to be an architect anymore, then I’ll tackle it then, but right now, these two accomplishments are my focus. 

 

Biggest inspiration/influence?

As of right now… Melanie Ray. She graduated a couple of years ago, and she completed her ARE’s in one year. Everywhere you look, there is Melanie. She has completely immersed herself in the architecture community and makes it look flawless even though she is on several boards, committees, and still has time for volunteering. I hope to one day have the balance that she has and make it look as effortless as her. 

 

How important is representation?

Upon learning what an architect was in high school, as sad as it is, we’ve learned that a lot of people don’t honestly know what an architect does. They don’t understand their job, the impact that they can make, and most importantly, they probably have never met a BLACK architect at that. I actually had a student from Buffalo University reach out to me because she wanted to talk to another black student doing architecture. As we have exchanged conversations back and forth, I realized just how much I take for granted that I chose to go to an HBCU. By attending an HBCU, I have learned so much about who I am and the impact that I make and will make. These reasons are why one day I will be a professor; to inspire young students like myself. I think it is selfish to keep the knowledge that is not mine to keep.

Favorite quote/poem/song/etc.?

One of my favorite quotes is from one of my professors, Dale Green. He teaches several of our studios, classes, and, most importantly, our Black Architects class at Morgan. He also gave me my first opportunity for an internship. During my time at Morgan, I have started to collect quotes from professors as reminders to keep prospering and to share with others. So I have a few, but this one speaks to me because I am a mentor for others, and one day I’ll be able to pay it forward and give someone else their first opportunity. 

Your job right now is to find a job, until you are creating the jobs.” 

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