Newsletter | Jul/Aug 2018

Interview with Cindy Li, ACE Scholarship award recipient

Tell us a little bit about your background.
I attended Oakland Charter high school for three years, and then I transferred to Oakland high because I wanted to experience what it was like to go to a public high school. Oakland high gave me many opportunities that I would not have gotten if I stayed at my previous school. I am glad that I transferred, because I had the opportunity to take a class called Civil Engineering Architecture. This class gave me a taste of what it was like to be an architect. I got to use software apps such as Revit to create a house from scratch using the tools provided. I've learned a lot from this class, and I hope to continue my education by taking as many course as I can to figure out which career path in the fields of design is suitable for me.

How did you come to design? And why did you decide to study this field?
I chose to study design, because this field allows me to explore the creative side of me. This field opens doors to countless opportunities for students like me that are passionate about design and want to explore what it have to offer. I knew I wanted to study this field, because I know that I am a creative individual and I want to be able to design and construct things that would one day improve the living space that we inhibit.

Madison Park's project that she did with her group members

What are your general interests and goals in design?
My general interest in design is to create what have not been created yet. What I mean by this is, I want to design and create something that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also very useful. My goal in design is to improve the living space we inhabit so that we feel safe and secure. I also aim to design buildings that uses as much reusable materials as possible to somehow lessen the amount trash that is produced by us at a day to day base.

What have been the challenges in this process as a woman?
To begin with, being a woman is really hard especially since there are social norms set forth for us to follow. Most of the jobs that are considered suitable for our counterpart are less sought by after by women, because there is no female representative in that field. I aim to change that, because I believe that if you are passion driven than anything is possible as long as you have the support and guidance from family and friends. Woman like me, who want to pursue this career can be challenging because men make up majority of this career and it is intimidating to be the entering in this field knowing that it is comprised of men.
How did you hear about the scholarship and how did you feel when you heard you are nominated for that?
I heard about this scholarship during the time I attended ACE (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) program. I felt exhilarated, when I realized that I was nominated for this scholarship, because I never had much luck when it comes winning a scholarships. If it wasn’t for ACE, I would have never gotten this opportunity to explore the different career paths that one can pursue in the fields of design and construction.

How do you see your future in design field and specifically as a women in this field?
As a women in this field, I see myself inspiring others like me to pursue this career. I believe that there are others like me that want to pursue a career in the design field, but they do not have the guidance or support to move them in the right direction. My high school teacher saw how passion driven I was in her Civil Engineering Architecture class, that she recommend me to sign up for this program called ACE. Through this program, I’ve gotten the chance to interact with professionals who worked in the fields of design and construction. I’ve learned valuable lessons from the mentors, and I hope to pass on this knowledge to the younger generations in hopes of inspiring them to pursue this career. My hope is that there will be an equal representation of women and men working in the fields of design and construction.

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