Walter Carranza (Class of ’16), Florida International University, Graduated Spring 2021
Degree: Master of Architecture
Career Goals: In the long run, I want to make an impact in the communities where I create in the built environment. Many beautiful communities helped me develop to be the person I am today and being able to give back to these communities to better them even in the slightest will be an accomplishment for me. Preceding this dream of mine, I first have to become a licensed architect, general contractor, and project manager. These accolades will give me the necessary experience and knowledge to create the change and show off the beauty all impoverished communities have.
What has been the biggest surprise about the college experience? Coming from a very tiny school to a large multi-building establishment was a big surprise, although everyone warned you before going to university/college that it would be immense. Experiencing the breathtaking number of different people from so many different places firsthand was remarkable. Every single one of them with different stories to tell, different expertise, different backgrounds, and different cultures. While FIU is a local school in South Florida, it really shows the diversity we have in our city.
Most challenging coursework in college: Boy, can I tell you that through my five years of obtaining my master’s degree I’ve had to go through hell and back from the 10 design courses to the 3 structures classes. They were all challenging but, the most notable coursework I’ve had to do was this past summer, during the apocalypse (aka coronavirus), we were thrown into Integrated Building Systems (IBS) and Comprehensive Design Studio (Comp). Both of these courses while separate interact with one another--in these classes we were assigned to design a building in New York City in a little area called NoHo. While designing a building in year four of architecture is no new threat, having to draw and design essentially all of the construction documents for the entire building alone during the pandemic was horrible. Countless nights of no sleep staring at a computer screen was terrible. At the end of the day, it was one of my favorite projects that I created, and it had the same amount of detail and research as my thesis.
Accomplishment most proud of: Finishing school is a pretty big accomplishment in itself. In my family, I’m the first to go to university let alone graduate with a master’s degree. During my time at school, I was lucky enough to be invited to join Tau Sigma Delta which is the National Honor Society for architects. I’m happy to say that while I never received an undergraduate degree, I had the GPA to graduate Magna Cum Laude. I ultimately graduated with a 3.9 graduate GPA which is pretty cool. Also, my merit in school led me to find a job straight out of college for BEA Architects, the very firm that created the architecture school at FIU.
Can you provide any advice to our current Knights? To everyone that is having second thoughts and might not want to pursue a college degree, here’s your sign to study for the SAT and to apply to all and every scholarship Milian sends to fill out. To everyone going to college, have fun. It’s a journey that can’t be replicated. What you end up doing during your time at school nobody else will be able to say. Take advantage of all the opportunities that your school offers, but most importantly don't be afraid to take a step back and allow yourself to enjoy your free time.
I paid for college with…: I want to say that half of my journey was funded by the Dream.US scholarship. I appreciate all of the people involved in that organization for not only supporting me financially but also mentally. The other half of my tuition came from my parents who worked hard to see me graduate and have the opportunities that they, unfortunately, didn’t have. I appreciate them and love them for supporting me throughout my college life.
Fondest memory from high school: Jose Marti was like a home to me for seven years, from sixth grade to twelfth grade I was there before it was even a MAST. My favorite memory was being able to see the transition between Jose and MAST. While that might sound redundant now that transition period really helped me get away from negative influences and helped me see that putting more effort towards scholarly merit would propel me higher than any other thing. If you would’ve told the seventh grade me that I was going to have a master’s degree, he would call you a liar. I'm glad that I was a part of Jose Marti. Also, Mr. Milian is awesome and is one of the reasons I went to FIU. After taking another stats class in college I can say that Mr. Kearns really made “stats real.” Ms. Diaz was great--I miss the MAST debate team. Ms. Drybread, now Henderson, calc was my favorite subject and you made it fun and entertaining, and I hope the class is still like this. Mr. Dean made chemistry bearable and opened my eyes to the importance of taking physics. And any other teacher that I may have missed by name I really appreciate everything you did for me.
High School Graduation Date: June 1, 2016