#FutureArchitectFriday: Kristin Jada Roy
Hi readers! It’s #FutureArchitectFriday. A day to celebrate those pushing themselves to becoming licensed architects.
Name: Kristin Jada Roy
Hometown: Brandywine, Maryland
Educational Status: Fourth Year Architecture Student
How would you describe your experience as a Black Architecture student?
Being a black architecture student is challenging, especially while attending a PWI. I definitely struggled my freshman year. I had very minimal experience in architecture upon my arrival. After completing my first year of school, I was pulled aside by my professors and questioned on my capabilities; I was challenged on my decision to continue architecture. I was heart broken because I pay for my education, I chose what I wanted to pursue, and the people who were called to teach me didn’t have the same amount of faith in me, that I had in myself. It was also disappointing to know that I was among other students, majority Black, who they decided to have this conversation with.
As a black student, you have to work 10 times as hard just to be viewed as equally capable. I see a consistent trend in the lack of financial and emotional support that a Black student may have, having a direct correlation to the encouragement to pursue another profession by professors. This action has been documented to occur often at architecture academies of all types, and it is actively depleting the rention of black students, moreover, depleting the number of black professionals in practice.
I was privileged with a very supportive family, and I allowed that moment with my professors to become the fuel to my fire. I understood that now I have even more of a reason to be tenacious through the process of becoming an architect, because I know that the odds are not always in my favor to succeed. Exhibiting that I can rise above the discouragement and be confident in myself is the best decision I ever made. As the years progressed my skills and techniques improved and I no longer looked for the validation of my professors to deem my success. I found myself earning opportunities that I would not find myself in before, and I genuinely felt that I earned them and that I deserved them.
Why do you want to get your licensed?
I would like to get licensed as an architect because I feel that it is my duty as a black woman in the field of architecture to leave a footprint of my knowledge and experiences as a professional. As the majority of those who have achieved this title do not look like me, I can receive legitimately in the profession as I practice and make a difference in my community. I know that as of this year, less than 500 Black Females have received their license in this country, which is an extremely small number. By achieving my licensure I know that not only will I be making a difference in the global field, but I will also be making a difference in the young Black girls lives that come after me.
My biggest inspirations are my mentors that saw my passion, educated and encouraged me in a different light than what I was receiving at school. Without them, I would not have been able to accomplish the things I accomplished, which brings me to my next point about representation.
How important is representation?
“ To live without reflection for so long might make you wonder if you even truly exist.”Black is King, Beyoncé
I want to be the professor I never had. Becoming a professional architect is an important goal of mine, but going back to teach in the academy is even more important. There is significance in seeing living examples of what you want to become. I look up to the architects who mentor me. I study the paths they took to achieve their goals, and seeing them achieve their goals assures me that I can definitely achieve mine. My “why” comes from seeing Black fellow classmates of mine drop out of the program that they chose to pursue because a professor that didn’t see their potential they had. I want to be the reason students believe in themselves, regardless of how much money and experience they have. I want yo be a vessel to younger students in the academy of architecture , showing them that the road to being a Black architect is not easy, but the feeling of triumph after a difficult road is worth it in the end.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.””Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT