In our Student Q+A’s we profile the students of the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture & Planning (CAP). We sat down with Amaleed Elmehdiwi, a Masters of Architecture graduate from CAP and mom to a three-year-old girl about her experience moving to a new country to pursue her passion for architecture and the different challenges she faced in finding the balance between personal and school.
Hometown: Benghazi, Libya.
Undergraduate School and Major: School of Engineering, University of Benghazi, Libya.
Program: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Tell us a little bit about why you chose CAP and what your experience has been like?
As part of my plan to change my major from Electrical Engineering to Architecture, I worked on getting an Associate’s degree in Architectural technology as my first step to get a second Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in Washington State.
While staying there, I heard from friends about the Master of Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver, giving me the chance to earn a Master’s degree without needing to start over, so I decided to switch over in 2017. As far as my experience went, I’m glad that I took the step to move here and apply to the program, as I have discovered that it was beyond my expectations for many reasons. As a mom of a three-year-old girl, coming from a completely different educational and cultural background, I faced different challenges to find the balance between my personal and school life, the ability to start using my creative side, and bridge over the language barrier I had; however, the support, encouragement, and understanding of the faculty, staff, and students are what made it possible to carry on, and never made me feel like an outsider.
Did you have any breakthrough moments during your education experience? If so, what were they and when did they happen?
I had a breakthrough moment during the third semester. As we started to work with students who were coming from an architectural background, I didn’t have the same level of architectural experience and skillset like them. I felt frustrated and had moments of doubt about whether I can do this; however, I was able to keep up pace with them and turn in one of the most successful projects for the class.
How have you grown since coming to CAP?
I have grown in many ways since joining, I’m able to think more like a designer, my skill set has improved greatly, and I feel well equipped to start my career in Architecture. Besides, I gained better communication and time management skills.
“Amaleed was an incredibly dedicated student. In my studio she worked tirelessly to iterate through numerous design ideas to find the most appropriate solution to her project. I look forward to watching her career continue to progress.“
What does life after CAP look like for you?
Right now, I’m currently in the job application process, looking for the right place to hopefully start my architectural career in Denver, Colorado, while also enjoying my time with my daughter in this great city.
What opportunities at CAP are there for students to connect their designs to real-world issues?
All the studio design projects, led by professors with a background in the program, are real design problems found in communities and societies. Those projects are used as a simulation to prepare for what comes after graduation. Helping students get internship opportunities is another way that CAP offers to connect students to the real world.
Do you plan to continue to be a part of the CAP community? If so, how?
I would wish to be part of the community in the near future; however, right now I’m focusing more on starting my career in architecture. I would be open to doing anything in the program, including helping students, as alumni.
Interview conducted and condensed by Agency PR