For All The Things They Don’t Teach You in Architecture School

Jan. 16, 2024
Full-time architect, Katelyn Rossier runs a training and knowledge sharing portal in her spare time.

Looking to help bridge the gap between skills learned in architectural school and those required on the job, Katelyn Rossier, AIA, NCARB, LSSBB, started mentorDINO – Designers Innovating New Opportunities.

Drawing from her own experiences acclimating to the profession, she created a bundle of targeted classes teaching key skills, both technical and soft. She posts weekly Architecture Registration Exams experience stories and more recently added a podcast Interview Series.

“When young architects, designers, and engineers transition into new roles, there is often no training, and most firms don't have a plan in place to help guide them. It is a sink or swim situation,” she states.

While joining a professional organization can help toward this end, Rossier wanted to create another affordable and easily accessible option.

For example, Revit Crash Course educates recent graduates on core functionalities, navigating the interface, creating drafting views and detail components, dimensioning floor plans, editing modeled elements, comments, materials, and more. The BIM Well course addresses issues like constructability, code implications, dimensioning, construction management, RFIs, and submittals.

“It is all about being a resource to give young architects a solid base, build confidence, and be able to ask better questions,” she says.

Soft skills are another key area where Gen Zs are seeking guidance, so Rossier also teaches courses focused on communication, emotional intelligence, time management, and goal setting.

“You could be the best technical professional in your firm, but if you can’t communicate this knowledge to others, then how can you share your value?” she asks.

With dozens of personal stories and growing, this mentorDINO free offering lends encouragement and support as architects navigate the licensing process. Recently launched podcast interviews, showcase the range of specialties available for designers to pursue. 

How it Began

Thrown into a difficult project early in her career, with little support, she almost left the profession. She continued to gain experience working for large and small firms and eventually did some soul-searching to uncover her professional passions.

“I started to find a common thread in teaching, mentoring, and helping others. I found that I was energized and excited when engaging in activities such as starting a summer internship program in my firm, onboarding new hires, coaching, and training, and making sure they felt engaged,” she relates.

Discovering the best of both worlds, she’s a full-time associate and project architect at SmithGroup’s Pittsburgh office and runs mentorDINO in her free time.

“MentorDINO is my platform to do what I love and to help the industry as a whole,” she says.

In addition to her licensure stories, and interviews, Rossier is considering more digital courses and/or eBooks, and starting a 1-on-1/group coaching program.

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