September 2014, Volume 18, Number 3



A Golden Portfolio

Anderson Barrera, who lived in Colombia until age 15, credits Miami Dade College with helping him get accepted to the top-ranked architecture school in the nation, Cornell University.

Taking three courses with MDC Architecture Professor Mario F. Ortega, Barrera put together a winning portfolio of all his design projects.

“Without that portfolio, I don’t think I would have been accepted anywhere,” said Barrera, 19, who was also accepted to the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, another top-five school in the field.

Faced with these great options, Barrera chose Cornell, where he’ll receive a full scholarship amounting to an impressive $60,000 annually to cover all expenses, including tuition, housing and meals. Once he completes the bachelor’s, he plans to pursue a master’s degree at Harvard.

Sharing Talents Here and Abroad

One day, he would like to have his own architecture firm, with offices in Colombia and Miami.

That’s a long way from where the teenager was when he arrived in Miami four years ago.

“I had no idea what I was going to study,” he said. “I took art classes at Hialeah’s Mater Academy and did well. I found that I think outside the box and that architecture was a career that would allow me to draw and be creative.”

Barrera, who graduated from MDC with 3.8 GPA, recently had his design projects displayed by the American Institute of Architects.

Growing Devotion

Ortega said his student became much more dedicated during his two years of study at MDC.

“Anderson’s design projects and 3D modeling have been some of the most advanced that our School of Architecture at MDC has ever produced,” Ortega said. “It’s an honor to be a part of the MDC family of educators, and it’s an even greater honor to see students such as Anderson who reflect our dedication and passion toward our practice.”

Thankful for all the opportunities he has had, Barrera said coming to MDC was “the best decision” he could have made.

“Because of MDC, all my hard work and commitment are paying off.”

— WV

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