After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science and Art History from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, Jess took a job as a data analytics consultant which required her to travel often throughout the country. Every few months or so, she would be living and working in a new city; the experience re-ignited her childhood interest in architecture.
“I became fascinated with the impact of architecture on home and work lives and I loved exploring the different spaces carved within each city. I had always been interested in architecture since I was little, but I think being able to travel really intensified my interest and led me to change career paths and go back to school for architecture.”
She went on to earn a Master of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, then became self-employed as a design consultant, followed by an Architectural Designer for St. Louis-based Mitchell Wall Architecture & Design. Her experience also included Research Assistant for architect Valerie Greer and Teaching Assistant at Washington University’s History and Design Studio.
Jess says her greatest strength as a designer is her ability to problem-solve creatively. “I don’t think there is ever only one answer, especially concerning architecture. Being able to look at a design challenge from multiple perspectives always helps me come up with creative solutions.”
She describes her overall design style as minimalistic and likens her work to solving a puzzle. “I think it’s the designers’ task to take complexities or various ideas and process them into an effortless design for the end user. That is why architecture is such an exciting field that constantly keeps you on your toes. It stretches you to be more creative, more flexible, and more considerate.”
When not working, she enjoys playing golf and volleyball, yoga, swimming, and rock climbing. She and her husband have one child, two dogs, and two cats.
What's your hidden talent?
My hidden talent is that I can fall asleep anywhere, but mainly in any mode of transportation – car, bus, train, plane.
Where is the most interesting place you've been?
Hiking in the rainforest in the mountains of Costa Rica.
What was your first job?
Cheerleading Camp Counselor