The AIA New Jersey Women In Architecture Showcase Features Runda Ali, Associate AIA. She Has Struggled, But Never Quit!

March 29, 2019

The AIA New Jersey Women In Architecture Showcase Features Runda Ali, Associate AIA. She Has Struggled, But Never Quit!


Today, women and men start their careers as ambitious architects but are there still barriers preventing women from succeeding in this field, a field where men usually set the rules?

Nowadays, the presence and influence of women involved in architecture have highly increased and shifted from its traditional male domination.

During my five years of undergraduate study at university, female students made up more than 50% of the course population. However, 70% of them have faced career obstacles to balance between work and family life.

I am a US citizen, born in the US, but for certain circumstances, lived in Syria for many years. I graduated with my bachelors in architecture from there.

That has not made me less confident with what I have learned, doubting my skills and knowledge. On the contrary, I’ve always worked my best and exceeded all their expectations.

My first attempt in applying for a job in the US after I fled Syria, unfortunately, was crude and naive.

But an architect in Brooklyn gave me a chance to be part of his office and was patient to mentor me in the differences of construction between Syria and the US and the transition from metric to Imperial system.

That didn’t last long, though. My husband has passed away and my family made a decision to move from New York to New Jersey.

I took a break and started the journey of searching for jobs again in New Jersey. Alongside the struggle, friends and families advised me to give up on architecture and aim for another degree. But quitter was not my middle name. My passion for architecture started when I was young and my passion is drawing and sketching has sculpted me for architecture. I was not giving up on my profession! 

Five years ago, Sargenti, a firm in NJ, has given me that hope again, allowing me to continue this path and being able to contribute to the success of the multiple roles I performed. I had the privilege to work for multiple clients and many projects simultaneously to the success of each individual project conceiving to express the mission and goals of our clients.

I’m among all other professionals, I have big dreams to accomplish and no matter what our gender, origin, or beliefs, with hard work and determination, success will follow and we’ll be an inspiration for the next generation.

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