Meet the 2017-2018 NCARB Think Tank

The sixth annual NCARB Think Tank kicked off in late September with 11 licensure candidates from across the country. Over two days, members discussed equity in the profession, ways to communicate with students, the pros and cons of the licensure process, the role of education in the licensure process, and provided feedback on new and ongoing NCARB initiatives. They also had the opportunity to meet with NCARB’s Member Board Executive Committee, which is comprised of administrators from the state boards of architecture. We asked each member to share their thoughts on licensure, the profession, and being part of the Think Tank.

2017 Think Tank Leah

Leah Bayer, AIA – La Honda, California

“Meeting with the members of the U.S. state boards was really inspiring, and knowing that I could affect change there too and can help in different ways. I think that NCARB and the Think Tank have really opened my eyes.”

2017 Think Tank Tracie

Tracie Cabler – Atlanta, Georgia

“My favorite part of the Think Tank has been being able to meet with the state licensing board executives. We were able to talk with them about the initiatives with their respective higher education institutions. We got to offer them recommendations for how they can improve their communications with schools and the public.”

2017 Think Tank Melanie

Melanie D'Souza – Lawrence, Kansas

“My reasons for wanting to be an architect constantly change. I got into architecture because of my innate passion for art, math, and science. I'm staying in architecture because it gives me the opportunity to make a lot of decisions that are based on our built environment.”

2017 Think Tank Jordan

Jordan Fitch – Cincinnati, Ohio

“Licensure is important to me because it is a stepping stone to a lot of different career moves. I think that it not only provides a sense of personal empowerment, but of career legitimacy that you don't really get otherwise.”

2017 Think Tank Leigh

Leigh House – New Salisbury, Indiana

“Licensure is important to me because I want to be able to achieve the most out of my career as an architectural professional. I want to be able to advocate for historic buildings and have that license to help a stratify me within the profession. The creativity that we've all been sharing and the fact that we've all been able to build on each other's enthusiasm for ideas on how to improve has been fantastic.”

2017 Think Tank Emanual

Emanual Machado – Bridgeport, Connecticut

“Mentoring is something that really needs to be taken more seriously in the profession. It’s something I'm passionate about, so I saw the opportunity to have a voice through the Think Tank.”

2017 Think Tank Kiwana

Kiwana T. McClung – Lafayette, Louisiana

"I was particularly excited to explore the charge of equity, which has been a major component of my research as a professor and a concern [of mine] about the profession. The Think Tank really has been one of the most engaging opportunities that I've participated in, in terms of thinking about what the future of the profession holds."

2017 Think Tank Abdulrazaq

Abdulrazaq Ogun – Florissant, Missouri

“I think every aspect of the Think Tank has been unique. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet different people from different backgrounds, but also knowing that NCARB is working toward, not only listening, but finding ways to interact and implement changes. It has been very, very interesting to me.”

2017 Think Tank Lana

Lana Oudat – Washington, District of Columbia

“I started school back in Syria, and I did three years of architecture there. I had to transfer here not knowing anything about the process or what it takes to become an architect. So I joined the Think Tank because I wanted people who are going through something similar to know a bit more about the process.”

2017 Think Tank Orlando

Orlando Quarless– Hackensack, New Jersey

“Licensure gives me a sense of self-accomplishment knowing that I have the beginning skill set to be able to help the communities that I'm working with in the best way possible. It also gives the communities I'm working with a sense of assurance that I am someone that they can rely on and trust.”

2017 Think Tank John

John Welcher – Louisville, Kentucky

“I think licensure opens doors that allow you to create a meaningful change in your profession. [It] allows you to be fully invested in your profession and to participate 100 percent. It shows you're really invested and can contribute to it and hopefully improve on it.”

2017 Think Tank Avik

Avik Guha – Denver, Colorado (Chair and 2014 Think Tank member)

“There are several charges this year that are really exciting and are different from what we did in 2014. We’ve had a fantastic discussion about equity. The different viewpoints from around the country on this year's Think Tank are really leading to a very robust conversation.”

For the first time, the Think Tank will have a second in-person meeting in addition to its regular virtual meetings. The group will meet next at NCARB’s Committee Summit to engage with the organization’s Education, Experience, and Examination committees, as well as special task forces related to ethics and resiliency.

The Think Tank will present its outcomes and feedback to NCARB’s membership at the Annual Business Meeting in June 2018.

Edtior's note: Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.