My journey into architecture began in my hometown of Yakima, Washington. My father, who is an accountant by trade, showed me the drawing board he had used to draft our house. He told me stories of setting up the board on the plane tray tables to pass time while traveling for business. Seeing and feeling the hatch-pattern of lines engraved into the wood gave my lifelong habit of doodling a purpose. This introduction gave me insight into design and opened my eyes to a potential career in architecture. Following high school graduation, I pursued my bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of Idaho. I took a detour the summer before graduation and studied abroad in Rome. I then completed my education at Montana State University, where I received my master’s degree.
During my time in academia, I realized that my love for architecture runs deeper than just design. It is instead rooted in a desire to problem solve. As a big sister, I have been solving my brother’s problems since he was born. He may refer to my problem solving as “Nicole, my bossy older sister,” but deep down I am sure he considers it helpful. As a Girl Scout through elementary, middle and high school I helped come up with solutions to sell the most boxes of Girl Scout cookies, being named top salesman multiple years in a row. As a college student I juggled school assignments, campus participation and managed a group of 96 women as chapter president of my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.
As a post grad, thirsty for professional experience, I jumped into a summer internship with The KPA Group in Oakland. I spent the summer with other interns, working alongside architects and structural engineers, giving me a taste of the design challenges and engineering of solutions that lay in my future. My success that summer led to a job offer, giving me the opportunity to call the Bay Area home. The KPA Group has relocated to Pleasanton where I now manage the production of marketing materials, collaborate with fellow designers to produce construction documents and handle critical client design problems on a daily basis.
Outside of the office I am in pursuit of my license. I am constantly in search of the next best coffee shop to spend my day working through flash cards and practice tests. I am fortunate to have found a career that allows me to practice my love for problem solving, but still tests my knowledge of design. Architecture is a lifelong passion, one to which I have just opened the door.