Architecture student finds perfect fit at UWM

MArch student Alexis Meyer. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox).

Alexis Meyer first fell in love with UW-Milwaukee when she was looking for an accredited architecture program for her bachelor’s degree. (UW-Milwaukee has one of the only accredited architecture programs in Wisconsin.) Although she considered staying in Minnesota, she wanted to be a little farther from family but still have the option to drive home for the weekend when she wanted to.

Originally appeared May 18 in UWM Report.

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“When I toured UWM, it was perfect,” she says. It’s in a small, four-block radius, but there’s still downtown. I can get my city views but I don’t have to live in the bustling city.”

After earning her undergraduate architecture degree at UWM, it was an easy choice for Meyer to stay for her master’s degree. “The faculty here, you can tell that they care and want you to do well. I had developed those connections and relationships that I wanted to continue,” she says.

Meyer also appreciated the school’s on-campus facilities, particularly the woodshop. “Being able to be hands-on and build a physical object of your design was really important to me. It’s a fully stocked woodshop—saws, sanders, a CNC machine. You can really do anything.”

Before graduation, she accepted a job offer with HGA, one of the country’s largest architecture firms, as a design coordinator. She initially connected with her employer through a weeklong, UWM-facilitated externship. During that externship, she attended client meetings and workshops, and created renderings and models, all of which provided valuable real-world experience.

Meyer maintained her connections at the firm after her externship (one of several she did during her time at UWM) and learned about her current job through a UWM alum who works there. “Those connections are really important in architecture,” Meyer says, “and the externship was good exposure to seeing how my job would be.”

UWM’s Master of Architecture program prepares students for every aspect of the creative process, from planning projects to designing and building them, and it does so with an eye toward equity and community engagement. Students gain real-world experience and expand their networks through one- and two-week externships with architecture firms in Milwaukee, Chicago and New York. Each spring, the school hosts an interview day for job placement that draws more than 50 architecture firms from across the nation.

Deans, department chairs, or graduate program representatives can nominate someone for a Student Stories feature by sending either a link to a recent web page featuring the student’s accomplishment(s) or information about the student’s recent accomplishment(s) to peterh@uwm.edu.