#016 Career Close-Up: Architecture

If your teen likes Legos, sketching, or Minecraft, they might consider a career in architecture. In this episode, friends and hosts of the “Open Plan” podcast, Emily Khalid Zand and Maria Pastorelli, are speaking about their paths which crossed while they were pursuing their Master’s of Architecture from Georgia Tech. 

They’ll share about the high school experiences that helped them find alignment with their chosen careers, the differences between the “4+2” and 5-year programs, and the required parts of obtaining a professional license in architecture. You’ll also hear how some of their friends are faring in careers when they didn’t become licensed by the National Architecture Accrediting Board.

Emily and Maria explain how the curriculum differs depending on the campus and confirm how important it is to research the programs available at different schools. You might be surprised by the level of drawing skills as well as math and science aptitudes required if your child is considering a career in industry.


  • How studying differs by college
  • The path to becoming a licensed architect
  • Other careers those with architecture degrees can pursue
  • Required art, math, and science aptitudes for success

Meet Our Guests

EmiLy Khalid Zand is an project manager and architectural designer at WSP USA in Philadelphia, PA. Emily currently specializes in transportation architecture and planning, notably working on Maryland Transit Authority and Chicago METRA rail projects. Emily is passionate about human-centered design that engages the community in the design process and champions their priorities. 

Prior to working at WSP, Emily has worked for 5+ years in architecture industries ranging from multifamily developments to healthcare. 

Outside of work, Emily is the cohost of the Open Plan Podcast. The goal of the podcast is to bring transparency to the field of architecture and inspire the next generation of designers and architects. 

Emily holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Temple University and a Master of Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is an Associate member of the American Institute of Architects and a LEED Green Associate.

Maria Pastorelli is a Design & Marketing Associate at Studio SOGO and co-host of the Open Plan Podcast. She received both her B.S. in Architecture and Master of Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Originally from Brazil, she moved to Atlanta in 2014 to pursue her studies, becoming consistently involved in school leadership positions as a member of the Advisory Board and a Teaching Assistant.

Aside from her coursework, Maria was the Marketing Director of student-led organization Equity in Architecture, while also completing internships at Perkins and Will. Her early experience has been in healthcare and community-driven initiatives. She graduated with her Masters in 2020 and has been working on various multi-family, educational, and commercial projects. Additionally, Maria has gained valuable experience in Marketing and currently manages all of Studio SOGO’s online presence.

When she’s not in the office, Maria runs the Open Plan Podcast hoping to help aspiring and current students through the industry. 

Listen on…the Flourish Site, Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or your favorite platform. 

Links mentioned in this episode

Georgia Tech Architecture

Temple University Architecture

National Architecture Accrediting Board

Open Plan Podcast: Architecture Licensure

Launch College & Career Clarity Course

Launch College and Career Clarity Facebook Community

Access the episode transcript here.