September 12, 2018
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EQUITY. DIVERSITY. INCLUSION:
Joel Nunez, Associate AIA Is Finding His Way
“I was always curious and motivated to do great things in my life, but a lack of time and money were a recurring obstacle. Fashion and art were a big drive while growing up. I always wanted to know the backstory of how they were produced and what made them so appealing. Before Architecture, I was pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. I took the NYPD exam and was shocked to find out I was going to be on a waiting list for two years. I clearly didn’t do my research.
While attending Bergen Community College I took some art classes, philosophy, drafting, as well as a few fun science classes. I started to like the idea of entering the field of Architecture, despite not having a deep understanding of what it was. I was accepted at NJIT after graduating BCC, and my journey took off from there.
I learned that hard work is hard work, but it felt good once it was completed. I began to greatly appreciate my bed but also realize that a desk or anything I can fit in could also be a bed. I grew more in love with the relationship between architecture and technology: 3d printing, laser cutting, fabrication, virtual reality and more. I set a goal to open my own firm but it was not a simple task. Professors telling you what is good and not good, tuition pilling up every year, and your brain frying like eggs because you cannot even take a nice vacation. My grades took a dive a couple of semesters and I did not know if I was lost or depressed. There is no one to really talk to in Architecture as it is very competitive and some people who say they are friends are just acquaintances. I have to give a lot of thanks to my family who supported me, including my mom and dad. They kept me motivated with stories of my father’s easy, wealthy life and my mother’s hard, poor life. The stories are so impact-full I am thankful every day for what I have. I try not to give up when it gets tough, but rather I take that moment and fuel myself to work harder. I grew tired of driving home every late night from school and almost having minor accidents. I decided to build my own studio/office and begin what would one day be my passion. I work on random jobs day and night: cleaning cars, interning at small firms, selling old junk I did not need to help pay for school and purchase equipment to help me get productive in school. I was able to purchase 3D printer, Laser Cutting Machine, Plotters, and Computers. I want to own a large practice, but I need to start small and learn what I can do for myself in architecture. My last semester, a couple of week before graduating, I was called back by the NYPD to begin a new career as a Police Officer. With that, I had some hard decisions to make.
I hope I made the right one.”
~ Joel Nunez, Associate AIA
By Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA NJ Advocacy Consultant | Posted in AIA-NJ News, Associates, Emerging Professionals, Young Architects Forum | Tagged: #BCC, #JoelNunezAssociateAIA, #NYPD, NJIT | Comments (1)