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Michelle Wohlers

Michelle Wohlers


Recently, I have completed my second year of the architecture program at UB and plan on continuing on this path! My secondary courses over the past 2 years have consisted of architectural history lectures, structural analysis, and understanding environmental systems (i.e. lighting, sites, acoustics). My primary course, however, is architecture studio which combines principles taught in all of my other classes in order to develop a single design project. In a designated studio building on campus, we spend 9 hours each week working directly with professors to develop new projects every semester, the most recent one being a library in a historical neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. This project was meant for my classmates and I to think about designing new buildings using contemporary principles, yet still manages to fit in with the culture, materiality, and history of the neighborhood. In February, my entire sophomore class even took a trip down to Pittsburgh one weekend to really study and analyze the existing sites we were theoretically designing for.

American Institute of Architecture Students

Included in the number of organizations part of The University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning is AIAS, or The American Institute of Architecture Students. This is an organization that partners with AIA, The American Institute of Architects, a professional group for licensed architects. The purpose of AIAS is to advance leadership, design, and service among architecture students and develop their professional qualities. Within the past year, I was elected Vice President and Treasurer of the University at Buffalo chapter. As Vice President, I am currently working to organize events that help students develop professional skills in a social setting, such as portfolio workshops or trips downtown for urban sketching and photography. AIAS also organizes firm crawls and mentorship programs with architects in the area. In serving as VP, the President and I also represent AIAS in a newly formed multi-organizational group. This group consists of AIAS and other organizations within The School of Architecture and Planning, founded in light of the recent surge for racial justice. As a group, we host virtual meetings for students, professors, and faculty to discuss racial injustice and the role urban planners and designers play in systemic racism. As a result of these meetings, some of our goals include increasing the number of courses and opportunities to learn about these issues within our school’s curriculum, and how we, as the next generation of designers and planners, can continue to resolve issues of racism.

Advanced Honors Program

In my second year at UB, I was officially accepted into the university’s Advanced Honors Program. This program encourages students with outstanding academic records to actively engage in the intellectually challenging environment of the University Honors College. Through this program, I have to maintain a high academic standard, such as earning a minimum 3.5 GPA. As a result of this, I am given an increased chance to participate in unique opportunities, such as aiding professors in their research and taking higher level undergrad, and even graduate level courses.


Last summer I also completed the 46 High Peaks, a goal I had been working on for nearly 10 years. The Adirondack 46ers Organization is a hiking club where those who climb each of the 46 peaks become members. In order to qualify as an Adirondack high peak, these mountains need to have an elevation at or above 4,000ft. When I was 9 years old, I completed my first high peak, Big Slide. Since then, I took trips each year to gradually complete the rest, until I eventually finished on Whiteface Mountain.

Orientation Leader

This summer, I have been working as one of The University at Buffalo’s Orientation Leaders. Due to COVID restrictions, the university’s orientation program was challenged with providing new students the necessary information in order to have a successful transition to college without compromising their health. Originally, I was supposed to act as a resource and work on campus introducing new students to the school throughout the summer, however, circumstances required us as employees, and the program, to adapt. As a result of this, orientation sessions transitioned to an online program and series of virtual meetings. As a virtual resource, I host meetings enabling conversations among new students, answering their questions, and sharing my experiences as I adjusted to the university.

Study Abroad

In the next year, I plan to study abroad. The School of Architecture and Planning has some major specific summer programs to various parts of the world, each providing students with a unique architectural experience. In completing one of these summer programs, I would receive another studio credit that would allow me to graduate from undergrad a semester early. These architecture program options include studying in Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, Ireland, Japan, or touring some of the countries around central Europe and returning to the US to complete the studio portion of the program. In choosing any of these programs, I hope to gain a new perspective on architecture and the profession in general and learn unique design practices that would influence my future work.