08-04-14

The CUDC Says Goodbye to its First Post Graduate Fellow

julie_whyte

Our first Post Graduate Fellow, Julie Whyte, will be leaving the CUDC after her year of service. The CUDC created the one-year position for graduates of KSU’s Master of Architecture, Master of Urban Design, or dual MArch/MUD program. Julie shared with us some of her thoughts about her time here at the CUDC and what she was able to accomplish. We wish her well in her next adventure!

What did this year-long Fellowship mean to you?
This year meant being able to be fully integrated into the workings of the CUDC, from the project side to the academic side. It meant the opportunity to work with and learn from a talented and multidisciplinary staff that is dedicated to promoting positive change in Cleveland and the broader region. I’ve spent the last year exploring what it means to work for a non-profit urban design practice and what it means to be a public-interest designer. On the personal side, I became a Clevelander, began volunteering to play piano for Alzheimer’s patients at a local nursing home, utilized public transit, and joined the local cycling community. Becoming ingrained in multiple aspects of the community expanded my perspective and enabled me to be a better designer.

What were some of the highlights of the Fellowship?
I’ve had the privilege in being involved with many great projects over the past year. One of my favorite projects is the Homeless Initiative, which focuses both on neighborhood-scale interventions to benefit the Campus District neighborhood as a whole, as well as targeted interventions to directly impact and benefit the homeless population. I have enjoyed working with the homeless, aiming to improve their quality of life and help provide them with a sense of empowerment, while working with local stakeholders with the goal of benefitting the entire neighborhood.

Another highlight was the opportunity I had to travel with the staff and students to Indiana for a charrette based in the Indianapolis’ midtown neighborhood. Throughout this design-intense weekend, we collaborated with staff and students from Detroit-based Lawrence Tech and Indiana’s own Ball State University. The students truly light up in that kind of interactive, hands-on environment, and they came up with some fantastic design ideas.

What will you miss most about working at the CUDC?
Aside from the people of course, I will most miss the projects. The CUDC consistently pursues the projects that truly matter. At the end of the day, you feel like you contributed to the community in a positive way. Whether the project is client-based or grant-funded, the CUDC strives to unearth the design solution or solutions that can most benefit the neighborhood where the project is located as well as the broader community.

What’s next for you upon the conclusion of the Fellowship?
What’s next for me is to shift to more Architectural work while still continuing to develop my skills in Urban Design. The Fellowship has been great for helping me along my path of figuring out where I fit in the design profession. I’m aiming to pursue both Architecture and Urban Design and to continually pursue work that is multidisciplinary, because I firmly belief that design is most powerful when it engages at multiple scales.

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