After completing my undergraduate degree in Art History at Carleton I took a position as a Gallery Manager and Director of Special Projects at the Skyscraper Museum in New York City. While there I contributed to the opening of the Museum’s first permanent location in Battery Park city, and several exhibitions including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Towers and City of Change. Some of my most memorable experiences are installing the viewing-wall around ground zero in collaboration with Pentagram and managing the production of three online graphic-interfaces for the museum’s extensive collections of skyscraper history. While I loved working at the museum, in the summer of 2005 it was time for me to move on and I left NYC to pursue a graduate degree in Architecture at Rice University in Houston, Texas. But since arriving in Houston my career has taken some exciting and unforeseen turns.
Roughly one year before graduating from Rice (2008) I founded Houston’s first, and largest Coworking space with my best friend at the time Matthew Wettergreen. Caroline Collective, closed in 2013, was a shared work-environment where like-minded creative entrepreneurs could gather, share office amenities, discuss, hold events, and otherwise leverage their skill-sets to launch their projects. As the director there, I had to think on my feet, and invent “ex-nihilo” programs to host/manage the gambit of small business tasks including staff, taxes, utilities, PR, HR, web design, marketing, event planning, exhibition design and management. It was an amazing opportunity, a lot of work, and it changed my life.
But, I was still in school. In January of 2009, while running Caroline Collective, I finished my graduate degree at Rice and within six months of graduation was employed at PDR, a Houston-based, corporate interior architecture firm, as a designer. Concurrently, determined to continue my research into animal-inclusive design strategies in the built environment, I founded Animal Architecture.org – a web-based platform for discussion biological design. And these three things, for the most part, are what I’ve been doing since. With time and experience, I’ve moved up in the firm and I now lead a team 13 graphic designers at PDR working on signage, and wayfinding projects around the country; I maintain connections to the coworking community in Houston, and in just the last year Animal Architecture has published two small books, given a TEDX talk and been invited to the Venice Biennale.
But despite graduate degrees, job experience and other specialized training (I am now a licensed architect), I find that I rely most heavily day-to-day on the critical thinking and writing skills that I first sharpened at Carleton. Lauren Soth, Katie Ryor, Alison Kettering, and Baird Jarman were just four key people in this process and I’m very thankful to each of them.