Grillin’ Questions for AIA Candidate Cynthia Fishman

Our first Associate Director-Elect Candidate to hear from is Cynthia Fishman, Assoc. AIA. Check out her Q&A below and feel free to leave comments or questions for Cynthia.

Generally, through what capacities do you connect with other associates?

I connect with other associates through volunteering with the Young Architects Awards Gala Committee, and as treasurer of the local chapter of Architecture for Humanity.  Both of these groups are filled with associate architects.  I also keep in touch with friends from my architecture studios during college.  Even though we are all over the country, I find that no matter where we are located we are all on similar paths and dealing with similar issues.

Generally, through what capacities do you connect with people outside the profession?

I connect with the wonderful world of non-architects through my hobbies such as eating, music and art, my second job in retail and through my friends.  As much as I love to geek out talking about expansion joints and using the word juxtaposition, I like to have balance in my life and to feel well rounded.  My friends range from lawyers to opera singers to yoga instructors to chocolatiers.  I find that it makes me a better architect (or legally speaking, a designer since I am not registered) to have a connection to many things and it helps me to become more relatable to clients.

Your term as AIA Colorado Associate Director will be in 2013, the same year the AIA National Convention is in Denver. What topics or events would you like to see during the convention relating to associate members?

In a similar way to what they did in New Orleans this past year, I would love to see tours given of buildings in Denver.  However, instead of the tours being self-guided, the architects who designed the structures could give tours and answer questions. I find that it would be helpful to associates to show the connection between the finish product and working on bathroom elevations.  It would also help us to connect with our city and to know its history and details.
I would like there to be more lectures that count for CE credits that specifically help with the supplemental education component of gaining IDP hours (and also letting interns know that there are other ways to gain IDP hours).  Possibly lectures on the business aspect of running a firm, similar to a professional practice class, that would help show the “big picture” of why some decisions are made in the work place.

How might you “bridge the gap” between AIAS members, Associate members, and Architect members?

I would bridge the gap by really pushing the mentorship program.  Even though candidates are required to have a mentor as part of IDP it would be helpful if someone not connected to their work place could answer questions.  Site visits with a mentor can count toward core hours of IDP and help with gaining knowledge of the construction phase which is typically the hardest category to attain hours in.  I would advocate attendance at YAAG since it is an informal and fun event where students, associates, and architects can mingle and see what our profession is up to.

What is your “million dollar idea” if you are elected to Associate Director-Elect?

My million dollar idea would be to set up a comprehensive website that contains relevant and helpful information for Colorado associates.  There is currently a website for the National Associates Committee that contains numerous links to help with registration and other topics, but to have our own website that would act as portal to local things as well as national.  It would be a link to NCARB, Prometric, AIA Colorado and Denver, Architecture for Humanity, Habitat for Humanity and the Associates Committee of AIA Denver to name a few.  It would not just be a list of links but also contain a calendar for design related events and volunteer opportunities and when ARE study sessions are happening.  There would be a section for people to post questions, like who wants to start an architecture softball or kickball league.  Or who wants to start a team to compete in the Emerging Green Builders design competition.  And also to ask questions about IDP, the ARE’s, and software issues.  It would contain a data base for options of what to do after college such as sustainable design programs, and travel options that can give real-life building experience.  And of course it would contain a link to this blog.
I find that a lot of these items already exist but it is hard to find them or to even know where to look.  Sometimes we are too busy to attend the meetings that disseminate this information and a website like this could help.  It would be digital design community to help associates all over Colorado connect with one another and what resources we have.

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