April 13, 2014
College Station, TX-Kindall Stephens ’14, senior environmental design major is Texas A&M’s nomination for the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship. This competition, open to society members entering their first year of graduate or professional study, awards six $15K and 51 $5K fellowships to outstanding applicants. Local chapters are allowed to nominate just one candidate from among local applicants. Stephens also received a $500 scholarship from the local chapter.
As part of her application, Stephens detailed her scholarly and community involvement. She has been active with the American Institute of Architecture Students throughout her college career, including serving as president this year. Locally, Stephens has been involved with Aggie Habitat for Humanity, Fish Camp, and Texas A&M Women’s Club Volleyball (2010-11 National Champions). Her impressive resume was reinforced by detailed letters of recommendation that comment on Stephens’ poise. One referee noted that Stephens helped produce a design solution in a national competition that took top prize and that “her comportment and poise would have been impressive in a professional twice her age.” Another writer notes, “I have watched her take on the most difficult public relations job being the Career Fair Coordinator for the College of Architecture and [receive] rave reviews from the attending professionals.” Stephens is currently completing a capstone project for a client in another state. Commenting on this project, Stephens notes “the restaurant brings together most aspects of my education…as I work in communication skills, graphics, systems, and architectural design.”
Stephens is considering graduate school at Clemson University, the Glasgow School of Art, or the Taliesin School of Architecture. These schools each offer something different, but all would help Stephens pursue a focus on maintaining cultural diversity through sensitive design, as she described in her application essay:
With the diverse population today, we, as architects, look to different cultures and different times as invaluable inspirations for our work. My influences have been found through travels with my family and my experiences while I lived in Spain. These experiences have started to shape the way I view the world and how I aspire to work in the future. Through my construction technologies class during my semester in Barcelona, I analyzed the cultural differences in Spain and the Netherlands. The cultures and climates shape the architecture and, by looking merely at windows, one can tell which country they are in (as long as the correct connections are explored). In the Spanish and Dutch example, Spanish windows can be found through the options for opening while Dutch windows are large, fixed windows. In Spain,the operable windows with options for exposure levels help maintain circulation even if privacy needs change. In the Netherlands, the windows are fixed due to a need to keep heat in buildings. In this way, architecture has helped shape the culture and a large workforce exists in window washing due to the difficulty of accessing the windows to clean. These differences show us one solution does not work even for problems on a global scale. Each area needs to be addressed in a way that is culturally connected to the land and the people.
Stephens, and fellow Honors Student Brian Sowell, will make a presentation on their capstone work of creating a master plan for rebuilding the town of West Liberty, KY, which was hit by a tornado in 2012. The presentation will take place Thursday, May 8 at 4:00 PM in the 4th floor review space in Langford Architecture Building A.
More about Phi Kappa Phi
Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually more than 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff, and alumni. The Society has chapters on more than 300 select college and university campuses in North America and the Philippines. Since Phi Kappa Phi’s founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated into its ranks.