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Be the Change-Maker You Wish to See in the World

Local architects from the AIA Tallahassee Component partnering with The Florida Foundation for Architects are spending time with 5th-grade students as they introduce the field of architecture and the broad theme of design as a change-maker. This is the third consecutive year our component has participated in this program at DeSoto Trail Elementary. The volunteer architects seek to engage and inspire the K-12 community through inclusive and collaborative educational programs that make architecture accessible, understandable, and highly valued. This AIA involvement not only encourages STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts & Math) education and career planning but also promotes an interactive dialogue about the communities in which we reside, the opportunities for positive change, and how architectural design can be a means for implementing solutions.

The elements of this program enrich and extend the typical classroom curriculum by providing the students with an application and real-life scenario. The program consists of an introduction to architecture, design exercises, neighborhood studies, hands-on workshops developed and taught by architects, and a final project.

This week, the students were the designers of their own school campus. They worked on individual master plans and then presented their designs to the group; noting elements of sustainability, safety, and overall cool factor. The student shown with designer LauraLee Diallo in the photo above presented his design for a fish-shaped campus named, you guessed it, “School of Fish.” This design was imagined to be a specialty academy for marine biology studies.


Architect Sandie Taunton Attends G.E.E.K.S.

(Girls Encouraging the Educating and Knowledge of Science)

Spending time with children during the school day is not the only way that DAG Architects connects with the young people of our community. We attend school expos and events that feature STEAM and STEM education regularly. Having such a strong background in designing educational facilities, it is always fun for us to get out and talk to kids and their families about what goes into the architecture of a school, what it takes to become an architect, and how much fun it is to work at DAG.

To make it even more engaging for the students and their families, we will also sometimes bring out the virtual reality gear and let everyone experience moving through a model. Kids find so much excitement in the possibility of designing schools, buildings, and their favorite restaurants.

This past Friday evening, designer Jamie Stephens was invited by a local Girl Scout troop to join them as they earned their Silver Medal by putting on a career night. They each chose a career field, interviewed someone practicing the profession, and then set up a booth to educate attendees as if they were a trained professional. A handful of local professionals in the fields that the girls studied were invited to attend and to offer more insight. The turnout was even better than expected with families and younger Girl Scouts filling the event hall all evening. Jamie, our resident VR expert, set up the gear and a traditional hand-made wood model which added an awesome past / present perspective. Without ever losing a drop of enthusiasm, she helped everyone interested (parents got into it too) in experiencing this new technology.

Activities like these not only offer students real-life applications to the concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math that they learn throughout the year, they inspire children to explore and create and to dig deeper into what they enjoy. Professionals taking time in schools and in the community to educate children about career options lets kids know what options are out there and can also give them the motivation to work hard towards a profession.

DAG Architects teammates are available for select

speaking engagements, expos, and other professional outings.

For more information about having a DAG Designer at your event,


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