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February 11, 2013

Leikune Aragaw ’15 Explores Architecture Career with Michele Dempsey ’94

When she was a student, Michele Dempsey ’94 was struggling to choose a career path. Then she took a history of architecture course with Robert Mattison, Metzgar Professor of Art History, and fell in love with architecture.

Michele Dempsey '94 and Leikune Aragaw '15 at DxDempsey: Architecture|Design|Planning in Scranton, Pa.

Michele Dempsey ’94 and Leikune Aragaw ’15 at DxDempsey: Architecture|Design|Planning in Scranton, Pa.

“Suddenly, I realized it was my passion and all the pieces fell into place,” Dempsey says.

Now, as president of DxDempsey: Architecture|Design|Planning in Scranton, Pa., Dempsey hopes she can help current Lafayette students learn whether architecture is right for them.

“If I can help a student figure out whether architecture is or isn’t their passion, then I know I have done them a service.  I love helping students find their path because it is a wonderful feeling to love what you do for a living,” she says.

During the interim break, Leikune Aragaw ’15 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) spent a few days with Dempsey at her firm, exploring architecture as a possible career.

“I wanted to see if architecture was going to be a part of my future. After I looked up DxDempsey and all its work in architecture, I knew it was the perfect place to look for answers,” Aragaw says.

Prior to the externship, Aragaw, who is majoring in civil engineering with a minor in architecture, was trying to decide whether he wanted to work in structural engineering or architecture.

“However, I’ve learned that I can incorporate both into my career in the future and not have to specifically choose one,” he says.

He also learned about the steps necessary to bring designs from vision to reality.

“I hope Leikune is more aware of the reality of what it means to be an architect,” Dempsey says. “From design meetings, to code research to construction drawings, and consultant coordination, it is a very collaborative, creative, and technical profession. Ultimately, I believe he left here more knowledgeable of the profession and with a mentor to guide him if he decides to pursue it.”

Learn more about Lafayette’s Externship Program

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