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June 24, 2019 / Member News

2019 Emerging Professionals Scholarship Recipient Sam Lynch, Assoc. AIA Reflects on A'19 Experience

Sam Lynch, Assoc. AIA (speaking in the microphone on the left) participates in an A’19 panel.


By Sam Lynch, Assoc. AIA
Where to begin?
The AIA Conference on Architecture was the epitome of so much to do, so little time. Days could easily be lost jumping from one session to another or meandering between booths at the Expo. Among all the craziness, I couldn’t help but run into friends and colleagues at nearly every turn. Of course, I ran into the AIA Baltimore crew, but the pleasant surprise was bumping into Christian Sottile, AIA, a professor at SCAD School of Building Arts who served as dean during my graduate studies there, as we browsed the Expo and chatted with vendors.
There were two main parties at A’19: The Party and the EP Party. With all the other activities packed into such a short period of time, I settled on attending the EP party. In all honesty, I didn’t have high hopes, but as the recipient of AIA Baltimore Emerging Professionals Scholarship, I figured I would make an appearance, snap a few pictures, and sneak out early. Needless to say, things did not go as planned, but in the best way possible. First, I’d like to give shout outs to Elijah Coley, Assoc. AIA; Leslie Epps; Shannar O’Connor; Eric Smith; and Andrew Schopen. For those of you who know me, you know the dance floor is the last place you’ll find me. Yet somehow, this group of strangers (new friends!) got me onto a crowded dance floor beneath the “Eiffel Tower” overlooking the strip at the Chateau, and then to the after-party at Tao. I swear being out until 4:00 am had nothing to do with missing that 8:00 am session I signed up for! To future attendees: trust me, the EP Party is a must.
As fun as Vegas was, there was work to go along with all the play. Perhaps the most nerve-racking, exhilarating, and fulfilling moment of the Conference was filling in for Laura Wheaton, AIA, Board Treasurer of AIA Baltimore, on the Blueprint for Better panel discussion. Fortunately, she couldn’t have prepared me better to take her place. I appreciate all the work she put in to keeping me from embarrassing myself. Participating on a panel with Justin Ferguson, AIA and Charles “Chooch” Pickard, AIA was an incredible experience. To our surprise, Jan Gehl, the pioneer of the Public Life tools used in our research, was not only in Vegas for A’19, but attended our discussion! As nervous as I was to fill Laura’s giant shoes, I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to take part in the discussion and share the lessons learned from our public spaces research at the site of McKeldin Plaza in Baltimore.
Thank you again to everyone at AIA Baltimore for allowing me to represent our chapter at A’19 and for the opportunity to share my experience. Is A’20 here yet?