For Scholarship Recipients, Education is a Pillar of the SDAF Community

Jessica Patrick is on her way up. The 2019 NewSchool of Architecture & Design graduate earned the 2019 AIA student merit award for her thesis about using neuroscience to create empathetic designs in place of prison architecture.

And she’s one of four recipients of the 2019 Pillars Scholarship. Funded in partnership between the NewSchool of Architecture & Design and the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF), Pillars scholarships are awarded annually to students who demonstrate academic achievement and a commitment to supporting NewSchool’s pillars — things like human welfare, technology and sustainability — through their work.

At SDAF, where the mission is deeply tied to architectural education, supporting scholarships such as the Pillars is a natural fit.

As a Pillars Scholar, Patrick was drawn to the opportunity to research her passion overseas. The scholarship allowed her to study for four weeks in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and share her work with the local community.

In NewSchool’s Spain workshop, students learn about architecture and craftsmanship done by hand. And with a concentration in neuroscience for architecture, Patrick was eager to see the impact that woodwork, masonry and metalwork could have on one’s well-being.

Masonry most of all left Patrick wanting more, as chiseling and cutting away stone made her feel deeply connected to the craft.

“It’s meditative, and there’s an art to it,” she says. “By bringing neuroscience to the process, you’re working with the movement of the body to craft different forms, and it’s very therapeutic.”

The experience left Patrick wondering about the physiological impacts that stone’s properties could have on alleviating addiction, depression, violence and boredom, much like the effects of nature. She plans to study this further. After all, the communities that architects create can have a tremendous impact on the way people feel.

SDAF Membership Creates Networking Opportunities for Students and Recent Grads

While Patrick wants to play a role in using architecture to create positive change, she also aspires to win an Orchid at Orchids & Onions, SDAF’s annual people’s choice awards for the best and worst architecture of the year. And it’s worth noting that Patrick isn’t just a distant admirer of SDAF; she’s also a member.

Patrick joined SDAF last summer after meeting some of the SDAF team at NewSchool. It wasn’t long before she began attending meetings for Open House San Diego (OH!) and taking advantage of the networking opportunities that the foundation brings.

“Joining SDAF is a great way to become more familiar with San Diego architecture,” she says. “I enjoy the openness and inclusiveness of the SDAF community and the education it provides.”

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