The Perfect Opportunity
Julia Andor saw New York Tech as a valuable opportunity. “New York Tech is the only school on Long Island with an accredited architecture program, and the accreditation was very important to me to help with getting my license after graduation,” she says. Andor has flourished at New York Tech. She is the president of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Long Island chapter, through which she has established a mentoring program for incoming freshmen. She is also a mentee in New York Tech’s Women’s Technology Council mentoring program. She sat down with The Box to talk about the new program and her experiences at New York Tech.
Tell us about the mentoring program you started at New York Tech.
We at the AIAS started planning the program for freshmen in the summer of 2020. The mentoring program is student-led and includes architecture and interior design students from both New York Tech campuses. We intended to provide a “studio culture” that incoming freshmen were missing by having classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We connected them with upperclassmen volunteers, who guided them through the beginning of architecture school. From then on, the program has only grown. We’ve learned a lot about how we, as organizers, can run a better program. I’m very excited for this year because we set up a committee made up of mentors and AIAS board members so we can run the program in a more grassroots manner.
What has your experience been like as the AIAS Long Island chapter president?
The AIAS has been one of the best parts of my time at New York Tech. Any architect will tell you that there is more to architecture than just building, and the AIAS is a perfect example of that. The AIAS has three main goals: design, leadership, and service. In architecture school, it’s easy to get caught up in the “design” aspect, but the AIAS is an amazing catalyst of leadership, social responsibility, collaboration, and organizing. Before attending architecture school, I debated studying political science or public policy because of my interest in civic engagement, but the AIAS gave me the opportunity to do both. I’m serving as an AIAS national advocate this year on behalf of homeless people. In the same vein, I also have two minors: civic engagement and energy science, technology, and policy.
Being the president of the AIAS is also an amazing platform for helping the underclassmen in the same way that so many helped me when I was a freshman. It has also given me the opportunity to set up the chapter’s goals for the year, so we established our mentorship and advocacy committees.
You were the moderator at the Students First: The Campus Experience – New and Improved Spaces event. What was that like?
Working with Tiffani [Blake], Suzanne [Musho], and the team from the Office of Student Engagement and Development was a great experience. They are a great group of people and are always available for the students. I’m very grateful to have been chosen to represent the School of Architecture in the event, and it was truly an amazing opportunity. The event was very informative and provided students, including myself, a better understanding of what this semester will look like. I’m looking forward to keeping in contact and possibly working with them again during the school year.
You were selected to be a part of the inaugural Tommaso and Franca Chieco Dean’s Atelier Studio. Tell us about that.
It was an honor to be chosen for the atelier studio with my classmates from both campuses. The studio was a great learning experience. It offered a vastly different perspective than what I was used to. It required me to be more independent as a designer and taught me to work hard to develop a concept. That being said, Professor [Brad] Engelsman was also truly an invaluable asset to me and the other students.