February 2016, Volume 20, Number 1

Making Their Mark

Jason Hagopian, Mario F. Ortega, Crystal Torres and F. Antonio Rosabal
At the ceremony were, from left, AIA President Jason Hagopian, MDC Professor Mario F. Ortega, MDC award winner Crystal Torres and F. Antonio Rosabal, 2015 AIA president.

Study Abroad Excels Her Rise to Success

For her exceptional academic and design work, MDC Honors College student Crystal Torres recently was named Student of the Year by the Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) at its 61st annual Design Awards Celebration.

An officer of MDC’s Architecture Student Society, Torres visits local high schools to introduce prospective students to the many opportunities offered at MDC. She has served as a host for the Taste of Historic Downtown tours offered by the Miami Chapter of the AIA. And for the past two years, she has organized a team to represent MDC’s Architecture Student Society at their annual Sandblast Competition – all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Despite her recent success, Torres’ interest in the field is relatively new, developing more fully during her first summer session at MDC, when she ventured to Eastern Europe and the Middle East on MDC’s Architecture Study Abroad Program led by Professor Mario F. Ortega.

“In high school, I had no idea I had an interest in architecture, let alone that so many opportunities existed,” she said. “But when I got to MDC, it’s as if Professor Ortega inherently knew that architecture was the profession for me.”

In Ortega’s study abroad classes, Torres completed extensive analysis of classical and contemporary architectural works.

“I had never travelled to Europe, and the thought of being able to visit a place like Jordan seemed inconceivable just a year before,” Torres said. “Professor Ortega has an interesting way of knowing what it is you need academically – not want, but actually need. And he not only knows it, but he already knows what is necessary for you to do to be where you need to be.”


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