Gibbs College PhD Student Participates in EAEC’s National Mentorship Program

Felipe Flores, a PhD Student in Planning, Design, and Construction under the advisement of Dr. Angela Person, recently served as a mentor as part of a program funded by the Equity in Architectural Education Consortium’s (EAEC). Felipe mentored Kyle Bowie, a Master of Architecture student at Morgan State University, a historically Black university.  

The EAEC’s founding partners are architecture schools, departments, and programs at Florida A&M University, Florida International University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morgan State University, Tuskegee University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Oklahoma. The EAEC works to reduce inequities and disparities for current students of color and other underrepresented groups in architecture programs located in the United States. Felipe was part of the Stacked Mentorship Program (SMP) where doctoral candidates in architecture and urban design serve as mentors for masters of architecture students, who have just completed their first literature review and thesis draft.   

Felipe mentored Kyle through the production of his masters thesis project where Kyle designed the CentroPuente Transportation Hub. As described by Kyle, “CentroPuente Transportation Hub is designed to be a point of interest for locals’ transportation needs while also being there for those immigrating and working in the immediate United States. Located in San Ysidro, south of downtown San Diego, this area is a highly trafficked throughway for the U.S./Mexico border. Many of those who come from outside of the country will often be stopped by police or Border authorities but not when using public transportation. CentroPuente transportation hub is meant to be a one-stop public transit connector for the greater San Diego area, that also includes shopping and residences aimed toward those deciding to make the U.S. a more permanent home.” 

Kyle continued, “The zoned portions will offer locals and new residents opportunities to open businesses that cater to the needs of the neighborhood while also revitalizing an area lacking public amenities like parks and shopping. A key feature of the Transportation Hub is its design and structural components. The structure is comprised of sloped elevated highway sections with spaces underneath that on the lowest level act as a drop-off point for arrivals and on the 2nd and 3rd tiers act as green space for visitors or residents.” 

Felipe spoke about the mentorship experience, “It has been a pleasant experience to contribute to the personal and professional development of minority groups thanks to the Equity in Architectural Education Consortium. […] Considering that mentorship is crucial to the diversification, growth, and agency of the discipline and profession of architecture, I voluntarily participated as a mentor of Kyle Bowie from Morgan State University. During this time, I have had the opportunity to guide Kyle’s theoretical and practical thesis on the need for social housing for migrant populations living in a ‘border’ context such as California. During our monthly Zoom meetings, I provide Kyle’s feedback regarding the content, form but also conceptualization of his design proposal as well as issues related to the users of his proposal. In conclusion, it was very interesting for me to see the synergy and transformation of initial utopian ideas into a very critical and well-articulated architecture project with its context.” 

Kyle Bowie wrote, “Felipe was a great resource for my questions and gave me great constructive criticism that made my thesis great. His insights on South American housing were a perfect addition to what I had learned and implemented during my research.” 

Featured Image: Felipe Flores (left) and Kyle Bowie (right)