According to the University of Hartford website, Madison Thibodeau ’23 explored engineering and business during her time at the University of Hartford. She majored in Architectural Design + Technology with a concentration in construction management and minored in Business Entrepreneurial Studies. She graduated in May and she is continuing her studies at UHart for an additional year to earn her master’s degree in architecture and pass her architecture registration exams to become a licensed architect. Thibodeau also studied in Thailand this summer through one of UHart’s many study-abroad programs.
Both CETA and Barney provided her with different skill sets. Thibodeau learned a lot about the field she is pursuing from CETA but learned the general business and professional skills at Barney that will prepare her for architecture and beyond. She expanded her connections through her professors and peers in Barney and expanded her perspective on career paths.
“I learned a lot about architecture while in school and had the opportunity to participate in events that reviewed my portfolio and resume for the professional field. Architecture school is project-based, which led me to make many presentations, a skill that I did not have prior to UHart … I was also able to make many connections through school to professionals in the field and connections with my peers who may also practice architecture in the future. Although I am nervous about stepping out into the real world, I am confident in my skills and open to learning opportunities that I believe will help me in my field.”
In CETA, Thibodeau was very involved in the architecture department beyond the classroom. She held a position last semester on the e-board of the American Institute of Architecture Students as graphics chair, making graphics for the club to post around the studio space, posting on social media, and assisting in planning and decorating for various events hosted by the club.
Thibodeau was also on the general board of Women in Architecture and Design, contributing to discussions on current architectural events and women’s advancement initiatives throughout campus and in the architecture department. She also served as a studio representative where she met with professors and the department chair on a monthly basis to share student feedback and facilitate a better studio environment.
In Barney, she studied entrepreneurship, where she learned how to market and advocate for herself, which boosted her confidence in the professional world, and offered a glimpse of what owning a business is like. During her undergraduate studies, Thibodeau worked for a general contractor that focused on residential building and commercial and senior living renovations. She was a project management intern focusing on day-to-day project preparation, various office tasks and maintenance, work orders, inventory, communication with subcontractors, invoices, and job site visits.
Throughout both CETA and Barney, there were several campus faculty who helped her learn and grow. Thibodeau says Associate Professor James Fuller, the architecture program director, department chair, and her advisor, was always there to support her and push her as a student to do better and feel comfortable at school.
Professor Daniel Davis, who was her first studio professor, “taught me more than just architecture. As a freshman, I was very timid and afraid to mess up, and he gave me so many life lessons that I carried with me through my years at UHart,” she added.
Professor Stephen Smith gave her opportunities in the architecture department, such as helping her find her first campus job and scholarship opportunities, and encouraged her in his studio class.
At Barney, Thibodeau took courses with Assistant Professor Aydin Oksoy for two semesters, noting that he was the most enthusiastic professor she has ever had.
Thibodeau also says that Assistant Dean Celia Lofink was a great professor who gave her an eye-opening opportunity in her Small Business Practicum course, where she was paired up with a local storage facility in Hartford to assist with a renovation project. She learned how to communicate with a real business partner while focusing on school and staying on top of her work.
“It was a tough project and a big task, but she supported me in the classroom to learn and get my work done the best I could but also helped me navigate my first real-world design project outside of my architecture classes, which was both intimidating and exciting,” Thibodeau says.
Source Credit: University of Hartford, June 30, 2023. https://www.hartford.edu/success-stories/2023/ss-barney-ceta-madison-thibodeau-23.aspx