Young Alumni Spotlight — Laura Royer Architecture, Construction Management Minor ‘13

Tell me about yourself. Describe your professional background.

Upon graduating from Philadelphia University’s Bachelors of Architecture program I moved to Baltimore, MD to work for Marks, Thomas Architects.  I have been with the firm for the past three years.  We specialize in multi-family housing, senior housing, as well as other commercial work such as schools and offices.  We have an in house interior design department and marketing department, which allows us to offer a more comprehensive design.  While at the firm I have been able to complete my IDP hours.  I am currently pursuing my license and have completed over half the ARE exams.  My goal is to be licensed by the Fall of 2016.  I have also been tasked with creating Revit standards within the office and teaching fellow employees how to use the program.

Why did you choose Philadelphia University for your college education?

I chose Philadelphia University because I valued the small classes, the number of professors still active in the field of architecture, and that construction management was also offered, which later became my minor.  The education offered also appeared to be a good balance of practical and theoretical.  Growing up in the country, I was eager to move to the city and experience the culture and amenities only the city could offer.

Why and how did you choose your career path?

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be an architect.  The whole profession intrigued me and I loved the idea of “creating” something that would ultimately become a place others would inhabit.  My father works in construction, therefore I was exposed to the profession while growing up.  My personality tends to be very practical and black/white, however I too have a very creative side.  I knew that going into construction or engineering would not satisfy my creative side, therefore architecture seemed to be the most appropriate avenue to pursue.

For you, what was the most valuable part of your PhilaU education?  Did your PhilaU education influence your career path?

The most valuable part of my education at PhilaU was the balance of studio, which tends to be very theoretical to the practicality of our computer drafting courses and building technology classes.  I valued a comprehensive education, which would later benefit me greatly when applying for full time positions out of school.  Pairing my major with a minor in construction management allowed me to stand out among others applying for the same position.  I was able to secure a job a few months prior to graduating.  The more you diversify your knowledge and experience the more valuable you become to employers.

Tell me about any challenges you’ve faced in your career and how you overcame them.

Thankfully I have not experienced many challenges so far.  I have been lucky to have project managers who have trusted me with a variety of responsibilities, which has also benefited me in completing my IDP hours quicker.  The best way to approach any issues is to advocate for yourself and continue pushing yourself to grow personally and professionally.  IDP can be a great way to approach your employer for experience in other areas if you feel you are getting trapped in a certain role or position.

Tell me about the most rewarding/interesting part of your career.

My firm works on a lot of multi-family affordable housing projects within Baltimore.  It is very rewarding to know that the buildings I am designing what will become some peoples first “home”.  Those who don’t have the means to support themselves will be given the opportunity to live in a beautiful new and safe apartment building.  We have designed projects for homeless, veterans, mothers who are re-uniting with their children after overcoming drug abuse, elderly, and those who have not yet been able to increase their income to afford market rate housing.

While at Philadelphia University I helped to co-found the Habitat for Humanity group on campus.  Upon graduating I wanted to make sure that I continued to participate and get others involved as well.  I arranged for my firm to participate in three separate builds so far, and hope to continue serving our city.

What are the guiding principles that you feel have helped you succeed in your career?

I believe we never stop learning, therefore I ask a lot of questions and never turn down an opportunity to try something new.  I never want to become complacent which has lead me to lead a very goal oriented lifestyle.  I continue to push myself personally and professionally, which in turn has truly benefited me in my career so far.  I have been able to receive recognition I never would have had I taken a more relaxed approach.

Tell me a little about your life outside of work.  How do you balance work and life?

It is extremely important to have a healthy work life balance.  I am active in a local church, play in an adult field hockey league, take as many barre and yoga classes as I can, and am currently studying for the ARE’s.

If you could pass along a lesson to current PhilaU students and recent grads, what would it be?

Try to diversify your knowledge as best as possible and don’t be afraid to try something new!