AIAS Texas A&M Chapter leaders attend forum, map out busy year

A busy year for the American Institute of Architecture Students Texas A&M Chapter kicked off during the winter break when chapter officers traveled to Phoenix, Ariz. for the annual AIAS FORUM, connecting with more than 800 students from peer institutions, as well as new AIA president and Texas A&M former student Jeff Potter ’78.

Representing the Aggie AIAS chapter at the Arizona State University gathering were seniors Marquesa Figueroa (chapter president), Joe Hamiter, and Luke Wilde, and sophomores Kindall Stephens and Brian Sowell.

The premier global gathering of architecture and design students, the FORUM provided opportunities to learn about important issues facing architectural education and the profession, to meet students, educators, and professionals with common interests, and to interact with some of today’s leading architects through keynote addresses, tours, workshops and seminars.

“It was a great experience and a great opportunity to meet students from all over the states that are doing the same thing that I am,” said Hamiter ’12.

“The conference opened my eyes to the potential AIAS has to making a difference here at Texas A&M and throughout the nation,” said Wilde ’12.

Incoming AIA national president Jeff Potter, FAIA, and his wife, Shelley ’78, attended the general conference sessions, as well as the Council of Presidents meeting.

“It was a significant to converse with Texas A&M former students who have been active in the profession,” said Figueroa. “Having the opportunity to meet with design professionals, discuss their projects and learn about job prospects was a highlight of the conference.”

The Potters, she said, demonstrated their Aggie Spirit by participating with students in the Aggie “roll call” that was held at the beginning of every general session; a first for an AIA president.

AIAS Design Competition

This spring, back in College Station, several AIAS members are continuing their national-level involvement, preparing for an upcoming AIAS design competition in studios led by Susan Rodiek, holder of the Ronald L. Skaggs Endowed Professorship in Health Facilities Design. The competition, “Renewing HOME,” challenges students to research and develop creative architectural design solutions aimed at improving the quality of life for residents of an assisted living facility.

“This project,” Rodiek said, “challenges students to renovate and add to an existing nursing home, transforming an existing ‘institutional-model’ nursing home into a more homelike, person-centered environment, utilizing recent advances in culture change.”

AIAS Texas A&M Chapter staying active

The American Institute of Architecture Students is a non-profit academic organization with membership open to all students in the Department of Architecture. The first meeting of the AIAS Texas A&M Chapter this year, Figueroa said, drew a record 100 students and chapter membership has increased by more than 50% over the previous year.

National AIAS events on the chapter’s agenda include the AIAS South Quad Conference, slated March 20 – April 1 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte North Carolina, and the American Institute of Architects 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition, scheduled May 17 – 19 in Washington, D.C.

Local AIAS chapter activities this year include: resuming the Aggie AIAS publication, Axiom; hosting the AIAS Career Fair, “Firm Crawls,” community service projects, lectures and the group’s annual Beaux Arts Ball.

For more information on American Institute of Architecture Students Texas A&M Chapter, contact or Marquesa Figueroa, chapter president, at

posted February 14, 2012