The surfaces in the architecture classrooms in Founder's Hall are littered with inspirations, concepts and drafts of projects; everything from drawings to small-scale bridge models are displayed on the side tables along the walls. First-year student Joseph Ortiz sits in the middle of the organized chaos, reflecting on the evolution of concepts for class projects, as well as on how he arrived at NCC with a career goal already in mind.
"At Easton High School, I did two drafting courses. It was basically half architecture and half engineering, with some drafting and designing," explains Ortiz. "In the beginning of my freshman year, I started working with my grandfather, who is a contractor. I would draw things, and when I created a design for a deck, he built it. From there, I adapted to what I wanted to do."
In his junior year of high school, Ortiz took part in a career shadow day and was able to see what a day in the life of a real architect is like. That only fueled his desire to eventually make architecture his course of study. Now, he's learning how to balance five courses at a time while also playing an active role in several campus clubs and organizations. NCC, he says, has allowed him to channel his inner communicator.
"What's been the most surprising to me, as a new student here, is how many opportunities are available on campus. I'm involved in Student Senate. I'm involved in the Hispanic American Culture Club. I'm in other clubs, and I feel like I've advanced my social skills and leadership skills," says Ortiz. "NCC is preparing me to transfer somewhere else and not feel like I'd be lost."
Ortiz has a goal of an eventual transfer to the architecture program at Lehigh University, and is applying for the opportunity to take at least one course there during the spring 2013 semester. The credits would count toward his graduation requirements at NCC, but the spot for the course is extremely competitive. Ortiz, however, has put a lot of work into his application and feels good about his chances.
"We need one letter of recommendation from a faculty member here, and there's an application about why Lehigh should pick us for the program," explains Ortiz. "They're asking what our long-term goals are, what we're doing in class now, and how we can apply what we've learned to their scholarly study. My application has some really long answers to it!"
Ortiz credits professor and Student Senate club advisor, Teresa Donate, and his friend and peer Tim Semonich, for helping to keep him on track thus far. Having people here in his corner, he says, has helped him to stay motivated and continue working hard every day. That includes getting concepts, designs and yes, physical projects turned in on a daily basis.
"What I've enjoyed most is kind of putting my creativity into a project," says Ortiz. "I'm learning what I want to say and how to say it."
Name: Joseph Ortiz
Projected Graduation Date: 2014