Seven Questions with Master of Science in Architecture Student Sara Ghaemi
Sara Ghaemi entered CAPLA's Master of Science in Architecture program after earning a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology. She is from Tehran, Iran.
What brought you to the University of Arizona to study architecture?
I was seeking a master’s degree in sustainability and energy efficiency, as I believe the current circumstances of the environment and living beings are woven in our decisions today to preclude further damages to our suffocating planet. The University of Arizona offered a program that suited my ambition.
What are your research areas in architecture and the built environment?
My research spreads roots through a broad spectrum of energy-related concepts, such as net-zero carbon and energy buildings, integrative systems, energy efficiency, energy modeling, heat transfer, water audits and saving, biosystems, data center energy efficiency, micro-housing and biodegradable materials—and this list continues as I am fortunate enough to get involved with many research areas at CAPLA and the university.
What do you like best about the MS Arch program and the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture?
Faculty members have been such great resources at CAPLA. They have nurtured me and invigorated me to continue my academic path. I was fortunate to work with Architecture Professor Nader Chalfoun before he retired, to work with Architecture Associate Professor Aletheia Ida on data centers and energy efficiency and as my thesis supervisor, and serve as Architecture Lecturer Laura Carr's teaching assistant, where I tried to absorb every part of it.
What has been your biggest challenge at UArizona, and how have you overcome that challenge?
Without a doubt, life as an international student can be challenging. But I adapted to my new life in Tucson quickly. What shocked me instead was the rapidly shifting conditions of my home country, requiring an increase in the amount of time I had to work, study and figure out life. In the blink of an eye, the balance I always had was no longer a given; instead it was a dream, a challenge and an ideal that I had to work 18 hours a day to achieve.
What does the CAPLA experience mean for you?
It has been a hard yet enjoyable path for me to pursue the MS Arch under the supervision of a caring team, and to contribute to projects that have an edge for the society and environment. It has helped me develop new skills in energy efficiency as a student, a hard-working and passionate attitude in research, patience and knowledge as an instructor and decision-maker on the future of the school as a student representative. Another essential attribute of CAPLA was to convey me in the right direction and provide the tools necessary to succeed in what I have envisioned as my future.
CAPLA is and was both a school and a home to me, 11,000 kilometers away from my home and my family, who did everything they could for me to succeed. Here, I found a loving environment that I look forward to being a part of everyday.
What internships or other job experience do you have, and what are your career aspirations?
During my studies at CAPLA I have been a teaching assistant for three levels of Building Technologies and a research assistant in a project sponsored by Microsoft and another project related to Tucson Water. Also, I am working as an intern architect at the a.23 Studios, polishing my knowledge since my previous practices all took place back at home. I have worked as an architect for over four years, but with new locations comes new requirements and needs. I am preparing to be an energy consultant to complete my academic studies. In continuation of my academic research, a PhD will allow for a more comprehensive examination of energy simulation and biosystems.
What advice do you have for prospective MS Arch students?
Before starting the Master of Science in Architecture, create a refined plan of study and research that excites you and pumps you up for some sleepless nights.
Click a thumbnail below to view a larger image and begin slideshow of select research and design work by Sara Ghaemi:
All images are by Sara Ghaemi and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission of their creator.