#FutureArchitectFriday: Stephanie Walker
Hi readers! It’s #FutureArchitectFriday. A day to celebrate those pushing themselves to becoming licensed architects.
Name: Stephanie Walker
Hometown: Yonkers, New York
Educational Status: Recent Graduate of the illustrious, National Treasure, Morgan State University (Spring 2020) – Bachelors of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design. Currently continuing my education, pursuing my Masters of Architecture at Morgan.
How would you describe your experience as a Black Architecture student?
I would describe my experience as a Black Architecture student as eye opening. Before coming to Morgan, I knew very little about architecture and what architects do. I am glad that I did choose to go to an HBCU but also am glad that I chose Morgan specifically because I was able to learn and excel amongst people who looked like me. It truly felt like we were all a family and we really just want to see each other succeed. I feel like that has helped shape how my career will be. I know that if I need something I can reach out to some people and vice versa.
Why do you want to get your licensed?
I wouldn’t just say I want to get my license, but that I need to get my license. It’s an obligation, I owe it to those black women that came before me and those that will come after me. I need to represent and make sure that we will not be overlooked. Not being licensed as a black woman just gives people an easier excuse to shut me out.
My biggest influence thus far has been my Professor Dale Green. He is so adamant about knowing your history, supporting your community and achieving your goals. He taught me the importance of being a black architect, but also being a black woman in architecture. Before taking his classes, I never even knew that black people make up 2% of licensed architects. Taking his Black Architects class was one of the best things I’ve done because he teaches about the long history of black people in architecture. He is also the person that introduced me to Historic Preservation. Because of him I got my first internships and a few other opportunities. When I become a professor, I wish to have the same influence that he had on me, on others.
How important is representation?
Representation is extremely important. Without knowing where you came from, how do you truly know who you are, or where you’re going ? Having representation, in any aspect in life, is key and for me, as not only an architect but as a BLACK WOMAN in architecture it is critical to have representation. When I started out, I could never see myself as becoming a professor. However, I have yet to be taught by a black woman professor and I am in my first year of Graduate school. So now I feel as though it is my obligation to pay it forward and be that representation for students like myself that need it.
One of my favorite quotes is actually from my favorite music artist Nicki Minaj. In one of her earlier songs, Still I Rise, she raps about how even though people are doubting her, comparing her to others and not taking her seriously, she triumphs through it all. In the second verse, she goes on to say “Cause every time a door opens for me that means you, just got a better opportunity to do you”. I love this because it can speak to other things outside of the music industry. I feel as though as black woman in architecture, a win for one of us is a win for all. A door open for one is a door open for all. We do not have to compete, we can help each other out. As long as one of us has a seat at the table, the rest of us can get ready for our chance because it most definitely is coming.