Summer Students Then, College of Architecture and Design Freshmen Now

Written by: Julie Jacobs,
CoAD is the only area college offering a weekly, residential summer program in architecture, art and design for high school students.

This semester, NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design has welcomed a handful of freshmen to the university who are, in a sense, already alumni. Among them are Sabrina LaSalle and Anuradha Kadam. They completed CoAD’s summer program in 2016 and were so taken with the architectural field and NJIT, they applied and were accepted as architecture majors.

CoAD launched its summer studies 10 years ago and remains the only area college offering a weekly, residential summer program in architecture, art and design for high school students. The program focuses on four disciplines — architecture, digital design, industrial design and interior design — with sessions on architecture and interiors, design and fabrication, video game design and virtual reality design and development. It also provides participants with studio time and features a field trip to an architectural firm. Not only are students involved in both practical and project work in architecture, they are engaged in college and on-campus life, too.

LaSalle, from Roselle Park, learned of the program through her high school architecture teacher, an NJIT alum. Before signing up, she toured the university and “was fascinated by the campus and the architecture program.” She was swayed as well by the chance to design in a college-level studio. Her professor was Brandt Knapp, a program instructor for the past two years who has taught various classes, including an introduction to architecture, design fundamentals and the relationship between structure and topography.

“She was great. I liked how she encouraged us with any idea we presented,” LaSalle said. “The week I attended was such a cool experience! It was definitely not easy, but I enjoyed the challenge… I’m very excited to start focusing on and studying what I want to do, which is architecture.”

(Top) Sabrina LaSalle, CoAD summer alum and current NJIT freshman, is "very excited to start focusing on and studying what I want to do, which is architecture." (Bottom) CoAD pre-college students on a field trip to Brooklyn to view the Manhattan skyline.

Interested in architecture since she was a ninth-grader, Kadam, from South Brunswick, enrolled in CoAD’s summer program to get a sense of what being an architecture student is all about. She wanted to check out NJIT as well, since she knew it is one of the few schools in New Jersey with an accredited architecture program and planned on applying. The opportunities to live on-campus like a college student and view an architectural firm in action also appealed to her.

“The CoAD summer class was an amazing experience!” she raved. “I especially remember our trip into New York City where we walked along the Highline and got to visit an actual architecture firm, SHoP Architects. Their firm was stunningly beautiful and seeing models of their designs and projects was inspiring. I knew then that I definitely want to be an architect.”

“The students are very curious and ask a lot of questions about architecture and its connections to science and engineering as well as the arts and construction,” remarked Knapp of the program’s participants. “As an educator, my favorite part of the summer program has been to witness growth in both my TAs and the students coming for the program. The high school students are getting a college immersion experience, so they have a level of independence and accountability that they step up to and it's incredible to be a part of that process for them.” 

(Top) Teaching assistant and third-year CoAD student Luis Chirino (standing, second from left) helps students build models on the first day of the Architecture + Interiors pre-college summer program. (Bottom) The first study models of the program.
 

While CoAD’s summer program draws students predominantly from New Jersey, it has attracted out-of-state students from as far away as Washington, California, Florida and even Rwanda. Program alumni have gone on to study architecture and design at prestigious universities and to find employment at top design firms.

For more information, visit http://design.njit.edu/coadprograms/summer.php.