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SOA faculty member & alumna attend AIA Large Firm Round Table

On Wednesday, October 16, School of Architecture Director George Thrush joined 2012 Master’s graduate Thana Taliep at the American Institute of Architects Large Firm Roundtable in Chicago.

Thana is currently working in the Chicago office of M+W Group and has been there since September. She originally started working for the firm in their Boston office a year ago. M+W Group is an architecture and engineering firm that focuses on data centers, laboratories, and microelectronic manufacturing facilities.

The AIA Large Firm Roundtable plays a strategic role for the architectural profession and acts as a sounding board and a filter to identify developing issues in the industry. The roundtable provides input and ideas and works with the AIA to ensure the architecture industry is championing design and serving the evolving needs of clients, communities and individuals.


This year the group focused on ways to decrease the time to degree for architecture students, and to increase the speed to professional licensure. Thana joined current and former architecture students from several other universities in sharing her perspective on the changing professional landscape for young intern architects, including issues like IDP and licensure. Thana hopes to be finished with IDP in the next six-eight months and has already completed one ARE test.

Attending this conference provided her with the opportunity to compare her experiences with those of other students, and to see how architecture fit into their varying future goals. She also notes, “Additionally, from the point of view of a current intern, I appreciated the chance to learn from a group much more experienced than myself while at the same time influencing the way larger firms viewed interns: as a group that is eager to learn, take on responsibility, and grow with them.”

Thrush and University of Minnesota Dean Tom Fisher shared ideas with the AIA Large Firm leadership about how to better coordinate academic and professional experience through co-op, research consortia, and other collaborations between the architectural academy and profession.