From Summer Academy High Schooler to Master of Architecture
Elias Christo, RWU Class of 2018
Elias Christo is getting the most out of the architecture program at RWU. Once a high school participant in the Summer Academy, he is now in his final year of the 4+2 program, which will allow him to graduate with a bachelor science and master of architecture in just six years. Christo has met with real clients through the Career Investment Program, served as a TA in the Summer Academy, and is now president of the RWU chapter of American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). His involvement in all the program's unique features have brought him long-lasting friendships, professional connections, leadership skills and technical experience, allowing him to design his ideal career path once he graduates.
What kind of real-world work experiences have you had during your time in the architecture program?
The Career Investment Program (CIP) has given me the opportunity to obtain internships that may not have otherwise been possible. Subsequently, each of these internships have provided a myriad of real world learning experiences –– experiences you can't get in a classroom. For example, seeing buildings undergoing construction or renovation in real time helped me to understand and recreate the drawings I was studying in my Construction Materials class. Additionally, I would also receive understand the business end of things, such as budgeting and meeting with clients. Most importantly, my experiences at these firms made me a more confident designer because I was able to flex my creative muscles in a real world scenario and receive feedback from working professionals and real clients.
Can you talk about your involvement in organizations?
Through studying architecture, I became involved with the AIAS and was fortunate enough to be elected President of our Chapter, as well as attended conferences in Austin, Texas, Washington D.C., and Seattle, Washington. The confidence and leadership skills I gained through these experiences, not the mention the friendships that were formed, I cannot even begin to express how much they mean to me.
How have these experiences helped you forge a career path?
Studying architecture at RWU has benefited me in more ways than I could have imagined. Firstly, I underestimated how my professional network would expand just from being a student. I've been fortunate enough to now have two internships with two different professors, as well as do freelance work for others. I've also learned that, in the professional architecture community, Roger Williams has some serious name recognition and firms have always told me that they've had great experiences hiring and working with Roger Williams students and Alumni.
What are you up to now?
Right now, I'm in my 6th year at Roger Williams and graduate with my masters in architecture come spring 2020. This summer, I worked as a teaching assistant for the RWU Summer Academy in architecture, which is a program that I was a part of back in the summer of 2013. I'm also working for Professor Melissa Hutchinson of MH Architect, out of Tiverton, RI as a summer intern. I also continue to do freelance work for professors, firms and friends. My goal is to turn this freelance practice into a full time career once I become licensed.