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2 min read

Peopleverse 017: Shannon DeFranza

Special guest Shannon DeFranza, AIAS, Assoc. AIA, NOMA joins the Peopleverse after serving her term as National Vice President of the American Institute of Architecture Students to discuss her perspective of the architectural profession and the larger building industry as a recent graduate and emerging professional.


📺 Watch the episode on YouTube here.

🎧 Or, listen here:

About Shannon:

Shannon DeFranza, AIAS, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, has dedicated her life to the service of others and bettering the world. With a background studying international relations, human rights, and climate disasters, Shannon graduated from the Honors Program of Roger Williams University, with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 2021. For the last year Shannon has served as the 2021-2022 National Vice President of The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), Student Director for the ACSA, and previously served as the Northeast Quad Director for AIAS. Through public speaking, mentorship, and advocacy, Shannon works to change design education and the profession, to properly equip and empower the next generation so that we may address widespread climate change through an equity lens, universally use sustainable building practices, and better our mental health protections. Believing that architecture is just one small piece to better our society, outside of architecture, Shannon has worked on behalf the Non-Profit, Scholars at Risk, to advocate for the release of wrongfully imprisoned scholars.

In this episode we cover:

  • Shannon’s unconventional path to architecture by way of studying natural disasters
  • how she found the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) while studying architecture at the Roger Williams University School of Architecture
  • why she got involved in leadership at AIAS
  • the biggest problem about architecture from an emerging professional’s point of view
  • the misalignment between education, practice, the world, and time
  • the biggest problem we face as a profession
  • why the profession should take students and emerging professionals more seriously
  • her takeaways about the profession from experiencing the National Conference on Architecture in Chicago as a recent graduate
  • her thoughts on loneliness and stagnation in the profession 
  • her experience of participating in studio on campus versus doing everything online during her last year at University
  • issues of mentorship, pride, and empathy (or lack-thereof) in the profession in regards to emerging professionals coming up through the ranks in architecture firms
  • her thoughts on how architecture firms can thrive by engaging and immersing emerging professionals into their practices
  • her best experiences of being National Vice President at AIAS and what she is proud of leaving for the next leadership team for years to come
  • her megaphone message for the building industry
  • where she sees herself in the future
Episode Links:
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