SoA Alumni: Don Pruett

Don Pruett, AIA Assoc.
Class of 2000


Don graduated in 2000 with the B.Arch from FAU. He is currently finishing his M.Arch degree from North Carolina State University. He has been engaged in the field of architecture for over 15 years. Since 2008 Don has worked at Quinn Evan Architects in the Washington, DC office as a Senior Project Manager. His work has included residential renovations, commercial adaptive use projects, commercial mixed use, governmental, institutional, and restoration/preservation projects. In particular, he has developed an expertise in foreign diplomatic projects that include the updating and restoration, and sometimes the reimagining, of Historic Ambassador Residences for several countries in the DC area. Recent projects include residences in Washington, DC for each of the Belgian, Ecuadorian, French, and Iraqi Ambassadors as well as a renovation and expansion of the Iraqi Chancery building in DuPont Circle. Don is currently working with the Embassy of Japan on the renovation and restoration of the Old Ambassador’s Residence at the Embassy.

Don is an Associate Member of the AIA and has served as the National Associates Committee Knowledge Director and Allied Director as well as the Regional Associates Director for the Virginias. He is a golf enthusiast and a member of the Australian Embassy Golf Club. Don currently resides in Fairfax, Virginia. He is married to Colleen (Nasta) Pruett, another graduate of FAU’s architecture program, and is the proud father of two lovely daughters.

SoA Alumni: Tabitha Ponte

Tabitha Ponte
Class of 2008


Ms. Ponte is Licensed Architect in the State of Florida, and has worked in the industry for over 13 years in both design and construction management. Her last design project in the state was for the Miami Office for Sustainable Initiatives “GreenLab,” a LEED Gold renovation while working for Astorino Architects. She is currently a Construction Project Manager at Osceola County, and was a CM/Owner Representative for the Chicago Public Building Commission. In 2012, Ms. Ponte participated in the AIA IL Leadership Institute, an event by invitation only.

Ms. Ponte has also discovered a great passion for education, and teaching, and has participated in development and as an instructor in programs at Duke University in NC, the Illinois Institute of Technology in IL, and in other self-directed efforts.

Ms. Ponte, in addition to being FAU SoA Alumna, is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Education -Ed.D. with a concentration in Higher Education Leadership- program at Nova Southeastern University’s Fischler School, and also graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Armour College of Engineering in Chicago with a Master in Construction Engineering and Management.

SoA Alumni: Paula Jarrett Nasta

Paula Jarrett Nasta, AIA, LEED AP
Class of 2007


A graduate of FAU School of Architecture in 2007, and FIU College of Arts and Science 1995, Paula currently works as a Project Manager at CPZ Architects, Inc in Plantation, Florida. Prior to completing architecture school, Paula dedicated her time to educating future architects as a teacher in Broward Public Schools. As Chairperson of the Associates Committee at the AIA Fort Lauderdale Chapter, Paula leads an Architecture Registration Examination Study Group, Coordinates Continuing Education Events and liaises with FAU AIAS.

SoA Alumni: Leigh (Murphy) McFarland

Leigh (Murphy) McFarland, Ph.D.
Class of 1999


Leigh is the Director of the Institute for Design and Construction (IDaC) under the FAU School of Architecture and an adjunct instructor in the School of Public Administration. The Institute offers continuing education and exam preparation classes to architects and contractors along with an Architecture Summer Institute for high school students. She has worked at FAU for over 15 years. Before moving to her current position she started as a student assistant then became an academic advisor where she was granted the FAU Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Advising for 2003/2004.

After receiving her B.Arch., Leigh went on to complete a Maters of Nonprofit Management in 2002 and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership in 2011.While in the B.Arch program Leigh was the 1998/1999 President of the American Institute of Architecture Students Fort Lauderdale Chapter. During her time in the Master’s degree Leigh became the 1999/2000 Broward Graduate Council Chair. Leigh is married and living in Fort Lauderdale with her two children and a third on the way.

SoA Alumni: Randy Goin, Jr.

Randy Goin, Jr.
Class of 2000


It probably doesn’t surprise his friends that Randy ended up working in politics and public affairs rather than architecture. More than two decades ago, he launched his career first as a graphic designer and editor in the private sector before making his way to the School of Architecture at Florida Atlantic University. After earning his B.Arch. and Master’s degree from FAU, he moved into public relations, marketing, and communications management roles in higher education—ultimately serving his alma mater as associate vice president for marketing.

Randy’s career path took an unexpected turn north—to the State Capitol—when he was asked to serve as chief of staff and senior policy advisor for the Board of Governors, which oversees Florida’s 12 public universities. Four years later and another move north, he now serves in the same capacity for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. He leads the system’s public affairs group and works closely with the chancellor, university leaders, elected officials and the business community to advance strategic initiatives.

A native of Ohio, Randy grew up in Texas then moved to Florida. While a student at FAU, he was student body vice president, Graduate Council chair, and chapter president of the American Institute of Architecture Students. During his tenure, the chapter won its bid to host Forum 1998—the AIAS national convention. He was also named Chapter President of the Year and served as the editor of CRIT, the national journal of the AIAS.

SoA Alumni: Emma Chen

Emma Chen, LEED AP
Class of 2003


Emma is a Registered Architect in Colorado, LEED Accredited Professional, and a Certified Passive House Consultant. Upon graduation she worked at Gallo Architects and went on to become a Project Architect at OZ Architecture in Denver CO. She then became a Lead Architect for the Department of Defense in Seattle, Washington specializing in sustainable building design. Currently Emma is a Technical Expert for the Department of Defense in Seattle and runs the regional Center of Expertise for Sustainable Design and Development.

 

SoA Alumni: Mirelys Calise

Mirelys Calise
Class of 2002


Mirelys graduated in 2002 from FAU with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. She practiced architecture for the first 4 years of her career and then moved to Urban Design. Architecture became a complement to Urban Design enabling her to have a definite understanding of the urban space. She has a strong sense of design, she lives by the rule of good urbanism, and she believes in the good order that brings the sense of place. These allow her to bring a wide range of skills to solve complex issues. Besides that, she brings a unique quality of graphic knowledge allowing her to express her ideas visually in a clear and concise way.

In the midst of the 2009 economic down fall, Mirelys creativity led her to acquire an Associate in Science Degree in Patisserie and Baking from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, College of Culinary Arts. Baking was a hobby that became part of her portfolio and professional experiences. This led her to start an entrepreneurial adventure creating a company: Gateau Couture, Fine Cakes and Pastries specializing in French style pastries and couture cakes. Mirelys Calise: Craft Artist, Architect/Urban Designer, Pastry Chef, and entrepreneur.

SoA Alumni: Todd Evans

Todd Evans, AIA, LEED-AP, BD+C
Class of 2003


In his junior year Todd was bitten by the sustainability bug and while a lot of his classmates went really big on their theses, he went in the opposite direction and did a sustainable single family farm house. Sustainability awareness hadn’t really taken hold yet and LEED barely existed, so looking back he can understand why some people thought his topic choice was a bit unambitious. Since then he has done his best to be involved in eco-minded projects.

Upon graduation he was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks working as a teaching assistant with former FAUSA director Aron Temkin at Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. Todd then went to work for a firm in Fort Lauderdale that focused on automobile dealerships where he tried to share an ecological approach to no avail. As gas prices soared and dealership ceased to build the firm closed its doors in 2005. Shortly after, Todd went to work for Donald Yoshino, FAIA, in Boca Raton. Under Don’s guidance Todd’s passion for sustainable architecture developed allowing him to receive his LEED certification as well as his architectural license and work with clients to complete some LEED certified buildings.

In 2009 Todd went to work for Black & Veatch where he is currently a project manager in their Washington, DC office. He has worked in the “federal services” division of the company doing work for government agencies. Todd has been involved in projects for agencies such as the US Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, the Smithsonian, and the US Department of Defense. His favorite projects have been for the US Department of State designing alternative energy systems for embassies, consulates, and diplomatic properties around the world. His work has given him the opportunity to travel extensively to Portugal, Malta, Turkey, France, England, Peru, Colombia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Curacao, and Nicaragua. (By the way, he has gotten food poisoning twice and been vaccinated against just about everything!)

He is licensed in Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, Washington, DC and Maryland. Because he is in DC and close to the headquarters of both the AIA and the US Green Building Council, he stays involved in both organizations. Todd has been involved in the development of the LEED exams and he is part of the committee that selects the educational speakers at the annual Greenbuild conference.