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BAC Alum Ian Hester Inspired to Give Back Through Design

Ian Hester, BDS '16, wants to give back. Inspired by his time at The Boston Architectural College (BAC), Ian wants to work in urban planning for a large city, inspiring positive change in communities, and being part of projects from start to finish. For Ian, it's about being a part of your community, talking with your fellow residents and citizens, and finding out what they value and want to see in their neighborhoods and in their city.

Ian's passion for design began when he was taking classes at Howard Community College in his home state of Maryland. As he was starting to look at design schools, a professor told Ian about BAC and its practice-based education which requires students to work in the design field as they earn their degree. It was this idea, as well as the BAC's mission to provide a design education to diverse communities, that convinced Ian to move to Boston and enroll.

While attending the BAC, Ian took part in the College's Gateway to Practice Initiative which provides students the opportunity to gain experience in project planning and delivery through design services that benefit nonprofits, community organizations, and municipalities in Greater Boston. This experience sparked Ian's interest in urban planning.

Ian then worked as a designer at Shepley Bulfinch. In his two years there, he was part of the team designing a new clinical building at Boston Children's Hospital. Ian loved his experience on this project because it allowed him to work with end users to learn more about their work and how this new space could be designed to meet their needs and best serve the patients, and then figure out how those needs could be met. He also had the opportunity to work on MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) coordination and life safety plans, which parallels planning in many ways and reinforced his interest in urban planning.

Now Ian is planning the next phase of his education and design career. First up is applying to graduate schools to pursue a master's in Urban Planning. After grad school, Ian hopes to work for a city, doing urban planning in the public sector. He believes in being an active part of and serving his community, while doing something that he loves. He believes in working for a city because you are really invested in local projects, seeing them through from start to finish.

In the meantime, Ian is grateful for everything he learned at the BAC. He says that the school changed him, matured him, helped him broaden his horizons, put things into perspective, and helped him discover his love of studying transportation and transportation culture. This passion led to him being the 2017 recipient of the Design Studies Degree Project Award for his "Commuting Behavior: Adjusting Rider Perceptions of Public Transportation in America" project. Ian is also grateful to his time at the BAC for another, more personal reason. It was during his time serving in student government that Ian met his fiancée, Angeline Focht, B.Arch '15. Wherever his career takes him, Ian is looking forward to serving his community through his designs.