Campus welcomes alumna to speak

April 11, 2013


Virginia Marquardt

Staff Reporter


Students sat in Hale Hall, Room 318, as they awaited the arrival of one of Tech’s successful architecture graduates.


Last Thursday, a 1999 Tech graduate, spoke to a room of architecture students.


“I accepted the invitation to speak at this year’s Academic Excellence Week to give back to my alumni,” Marquardt said. “I wanted to show students interested in architecture that they could achieve their dreams.”


As a senior associate for DLR Group, an architectural design firm in Santa Monica, Calif., Marquardt said she has reached a few of her dreams.


“As a little girl, I fell in love with buildings,” Marquardt said. “At the time, I didn’t know it was architecture.”


Marquardt said she took a drafting class in high school and realized this is what she wanted to do.


“That class opened my eyes to the possibilities,” Marquardt said. “It helped me to determine what I wanted to do and how to get involved.”


Marquardt said she did exactly that, graduated cum laude and went on to work for several firms before DLR Group.


She recently won the American Institute of Architects Young Architect Award.


“I just set out to do something I love while also being able to give back,” she said.


Marquardt said her desire to give back came from her parents.


“Growing up my mom was a school teacher and my dad worked in the mental health field, so the desire to help came from watching them,” she said.


Marquardt said she is giving back by working in the K-12 level of architecture.


“The K-12 level is for architects who do design projects for educational purposes,” she said. “We design schools, community centers and other things that have to do with education.”


The company Marquardt works for is most recently known for designing the mall that became a temporary high school for students who were displaced after the Joplin, Mo., tornadoes.


“Our Kansas office was given the opportunity to turn the mall in Joplin into a fun, educational environment for students,” she said. “They were able to give those students a sense of normalcy after such a tragic event.”


Although Marquardt did not work on that project, she said she has worked on several others.


“I worked on the Kingman Unified School District in Arizona,” she said. “We took existing buildings and made them energy efficient, appealing and educationally fun for students and faculty.”


Providing better, eco-friendly schools is not the only way Marquardt has given back, she said. She is also an adviser to coordinators for DLR Group’s Intern Development Program.


“It is a program geared at helping future architects on their journey to becoming professionals,” Marquardt said.


Several architecture students said they were appreciative of Marquardt’s choice to speak to them.


Brian Delaney, a third-year architecture major, said Marquardt’s speech helped him to realize even firms of large scale have an impact on the future education of young adults.


“The fact that a large firm starts to develop people at a K-12 level is great,” he said. “The younger someone starts to understand the aspects of design, the better life they will lead.”


Similar to Delaney, Nicholas Wagner, a sophomore architecture major, said Marquardt’s speech helped him in deciding which path to take as an architect.


“Before this lecture, I never thought about doing work for K-12,” Wagner said. “Now I see that as an option so I could give back to the next generation.”


Email comments to kms042@latech.edu.


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