A Culminating RWU Experience

A headshot of Whitney Belton

Whitney Belton, RWU Class of 2018


Today, Whitney Belton is an RWU alumna with a master's of architecture degree and is launching her career. Almost ten years ago, Belton was a student in high school unsure what career path she wanted to pursue. A four-week summer program at RWU changed that. Looking back, Belton says, that experience helped her become who she is today.

Belton's RWU connection started as a high school junior in RWU's Architecture Summer Academy. That experience made it clear that she wanted to pursue a career in the field, she says. It was like a sneak peak into the program at RWU and into the career field. "It gave us a sampling," Belton says. "Assignments were small enough that we could handle them and true enough to what we would actually be doing when we came here." Belton says she worked with professors she would later work with as an undergraduate student, gained studio experience and connected with friends from all over. The experience laid a solid foundation for her time as an undergraduate student.

As an undergraduate student, Belton says that foundation she gained in the Summer Academy grew even stronger. She learned how the field works, key concepts and terminology and processes, she says. Then as a master's student, that foundation and understanding of the field became more refined. That advanced learning was why she wanted to earn her master's in the first place.

"Once you get into the graduate level it's more about determining your own process and figuring out what works for you," Belton says. "And you get to work even more one-on-one with professors."

Projects, especially the graduate thesis design project, and the study of architectural theory and practice in her classes are also more in depth, she says.

Example of student work in Arch.
For her thesis design project, Whitney Belton is showing how architecture can help create a space that will reduce the occurrence of noncommunicable diseases throughout the world. “The overall design goal is to reflect the future of a healthy global population,” Belton said.

“Everything builds into making you a design professional,” Belton says.

Now, as she gets ready to make the next leap into her career, Belton is thankful that her experience has culminated the way it has.