Rose Wilkowski

Master of Architecture student

Architecture graduate student Rose Wilkowski’s first impression of the university was one of awe. “My campus visit solidified my choice to join the architecture school,” Rose notes. “I visited programs all over the country, and only at Rice did I see the dean and other professors offer to sit down one-on-one with potential students.”

Her impressions have been confirmed over the past few years. At Rice, she has found faculty mentors whose unique classes strike the perfect balance between design theory and hands-on building opportunities.

Rice Construct, one of Rose’s favorite courses, embodies this hands-on mentality. In this elective course, architecture students spent one semester designing an ancillary dwelling unit, in Rose’s case a 360-square-foot backyard home which her team dubbed the +House.

“We use all-student manual labor, except for some trade-specific tasks,” says Rose, who views Rice Construct as one of her most valuable experiences. “We were solely responsible for the construction documents and filing the necessary permits with the city. It was an ideal opportunity to see a project through from early concept and design to construction, and now even into occupancy.”

“Fellowship support allowed me to completely focus my decision to choose Rice on the merit of the program and the faculty.” — Rose Wilkowski, Master of Architecture student

Faculty mentorship has played a key role in the project. By working with Danny Samuels, director of Rice Construct, Rose has the benefit of developing as a leader. “For me it’s been a very fruitful relationship because I’ve been working with him through this program for over two years,” she says. “I also have been paired with him as his graduate assistant, which has allowed me to take on a leadership role as well.”

Rice Architecture has, above all, enabled Rose to follow her own path. With a background in interior design, she hopes to straddle the worlds of interior design and architecture. “My real drive to become a teacher eventually is to try to bring these two worlds together,” she notes. “For the first time, I have found myself in an educational environment that constantly challenges me to push boundaries, while completely supporting me along the way. It is an invaluable experience.”

How does she feel Rice Architecture is preparing her for success? “Through their interest and expertise, the faculty here truly balance the history and theory of architecture with technical expertise and execution,” Rose remarks. “Rice can really provide support for any type of student coming in and wanting to better themselves in a particular interest or field.”

Rose’s graduate assistantship pairs her with a faculty member on a long-term basis, enabling her to acquire hands-on experience in conjunction with financial assistance. “Fellowship support allowed me to completely focus my decision to choose Rice on the merit of the program and the faculty.”

What does it feel like to consider those who support graduate students through philanthropy? “It’s just one of those things that I feel like words can't even describe,” she says “I feel so grateful knowing that others have made it possible to ease the financial burden.”


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