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Constructing a career: Archer hosts architecture and design panel, speakers share advice, experiences

Photo credit: Charlotte Burnap
Panelist Stephanie Hobbs, a design principal at Marmol Radziner, speaks about her career in architecture to the Classes of 2024 and 2025. Hobbs was joined by four other speakers who also work at Marmol Radziner: Lia Gardley, Amy Smith and Ashley Nath, who discussed their careers in Archer’s library during third period Monday, April 29.

From blueprint to reality, the work of an architect never seems to stop. Juniors and seniors gathered in the library to hear from four female panelists about this process and their careers at architecture firm Marmol Radziner Monday, April 29. Seniors Gemma Larbalestier and Bella Teitelbaum moderated the event, which took place during third period FLX Block.

The panelists were project managers Lia Gardley, who focuses on construction; Amy Smith, who works in landscaping; Ashley Nath, who focuses on interior design; and design principal Stephanie Hobbs. The group works together at Marmol Radziner, tackling different aspects of architecture and construction, from planning a project’s layout to bringing it to life.

Associate Head of School Karen Pavliscak said Leo Marmol, managing partner of Marmol Radziner, reached out to Archer for a “Careers in Design and Construction” panel. She said numerous Archer students have expressed interest in architecture, so they eagerly accepted. Gardley said she loved answering questions about their backgrounds because she got to share her story and was able to learn more about her coworkers.

“I think it’s interesting to hear everyone’s origin story and to see how we’re all in the same spot right now … and how we got here,” Gardley said. “Even though everyone’s path is different, we made it to the same company.”

The panel exposed the audience to potential career opportunities and studies as students either prepare for college or begin the application process. Pavliscak said the panel, like others hosted by Archer, seeks to provide students access to female leaders in different fields of study. Junior Presley Forster said she enjoyed how the panelists explained the numerous passions and skills involved in architecture, and there are many aspects that a job in this field could cover.

“Within architecture, there’s math, there’s science, there’s interior design — all different parts,” Forster said. “So even if I am not totally passionate about architecture, I liked how there were aspects of other professions and other passions within it that I could probably get involved with.”

Following the panel, Hobbs said she wanted students to gain a deeper understanding of her career and its highs and lows. She said she wanted students to be able to see the profession’s “realness” as opposed to just the beauty of their final work.

Julianna Hatton (‘25) said hearing the panelists discuss not always knowing what they wanted their career to be was helpful and comforting, especially as students often feel pressured to decide on a career path as soon as possible.

“I enjoyed how none of them really knew what they wanted to do when they went to college. Nowadays, there’s such a stress that you have to know what you want to do since you’re 5 years old, and they’re all such confident, successful women who have found their passion, not necessarily through a straight path,” Hatton said. “It’s very inspiring to all Archer girls.”

After sharing her journey, Smith said she hoped it would encourage students to find the path that is right for them, whether it was in architecture or another career entirely.

“[I hope students will] not be afraid to explore and make mistakes,” Smith said. “Find what really makes sense for you.”

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Burnap
Charlotte Burnap, Staff Reporter
Charlotte Burnap became a staff reporter in 2023. At Archer, she sings in choir and the Unaccompanied Minors, Archer's a cappella group. In her free time, you can find her listening to music, reading, or hanging out with her friends.

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