Adam Ortego, like many students, found a major that was a better fit than the one he started out with.
“I began studying engineering here and then was introduced to some architecture majors in my first year. Through conversation with them and experiencing their studio environment and the type of projects they were doing, I decided that architecture might be a better fit for me,” he said.
“When I changed my major to architecture, I could have changed schools, but when I began my architecture education here, I chose to stay because of the quality of design education and the emphasis that our program puts on the creative process as an interdisciplinary medium for creating and discovering solutions in our world and our society.
“And every day, I wake up and I choose to go to school and study at this wonderful university, in this amazing architecture program,” he said. “And every year I find new reasons to fall in love with what I'm being offered and the content that I'm learning.”
Staying Busy with Projects
Outside of his classes, Adam has had other opportunities to assist with research and special projects.
He completed an internship with the city of Lafayette’s cultural development initiative. He’s helped Dr. Allison Leigh, an assistant professor of art history, gather resources for her recently published book. He’s worked on interdisciplinary research projects with professors in the School of Architecture and Design for ArTech Fusion. He was part of a construction project for the Cajundome & Convention Center.
Now, he is spending his final semester as an intern at Remson Haley Herpin Architects as part of the School of Architecture and Design’s Internship Exchange Program (IEXX).
“The IEXX opportunity is a really fantastic opportunity that the School of Architecture and Design offers their students,” he said. “I spent my final fall semester designing a comprehensive project that ties together all of the aspects of a project that I’m really familiar with: initial conceptualization, schematic design, and creating architectural drawings.
“This semester I’m actually in an architecture firm, working a paid internship, and testing my skills in an environment that has committed to contributing to my educational experience,” he said. “Every day I meet with licensed architects, gain experience in industry-standard software, and get to participate in the practice of architecture.
“The School of Architecture and Design at UL Lafayette is really committed to exposing us to as much as they can about the study and practice of architecture in our short time as students,” he said. “Culminating my undergraduate education in architectural practice is so cool because I get to step out of the studio environment and see things happening in the real world. It has helped me realize I have a lot to contribute because of how I’ve learned and the skills I’ve built here.”
Thinking About the Future
While the most obvious career choice for an architecture major is to become an architect, Adam is pushing the boundaries and exploring all the options in front of him.
“The skills that I've built and gained in my time here can really be translated into so many different fields of work,” he explained. “There's always contributions to be made by designers who are trained critical thinkers and communicators. And I really think that, as much as I love architecture, my calling in this life with the skills that I've learned can go beyond designing buildings.
“I'm really interested in the way culture, community, and urbanism have developed in Louisiana,” he said. “After graduate school, I hope to pursue research and practice that contributes to creating a more equitable and beautiful Louisiana.”