To kick off our blog, we’re introducing something called “Friday Bios.” Our very own Elisa Rocha puts these together once a month and sends them out on a Friday as a way to get to know our coworkers better. We’ll be sharing these on the blog, and to kick it off we have our interview with architect-in-testing (four of seven passed thus far) Katie Seifert!
Native Portlander or the adventurous type? Where are you from and what brought you here?
Most def the mediocre-adventurous type. Born in Illinois and lived in Utah, Ohio, West Virginia, Minnesota, Montana, then here! I was working in Minnesota right after school, but when I got laid off during the recession and couldn’t find other work, I started applying all over and chose Portland without ever having been here before. I’d say it’s worked out fairly decently.
Montana State University – Bozeman
Woo Bobcats! Rawrrawrrawr
Montana is a huge place for dinosaur er…bones, a la Museum of the Rockies. Also, a large agricultural and animal science sector (surprise).
When did you realize you wanted to become an architect?
I just kind of decided one day in high school. I had always loved art, but it was too “kitchy-kitchy” for me. And engineering was way too boring and involved way too much math. Architecture fell perfectly in the middle! That, and I was under the impression that we made a lot of money. Craaaaaaaap. I’VE MADE A MISTAKE.
Did you consider other careers? What were they?
Considered interior design…photography (I wanted to work with NatGeo or contract with Backpacker, Travel Magazine, or something along those lines)…some sort of event planning (mostly because I’m overly organized and like to boss people around, haha).
What projects inspire you?
There is a ton of more modern and insanely inspiring architecture, but there is something mind-blowing about old/ancient architecture. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is jaw-dropping. I never walk into an old cathedral or public building and think, “Meh, the detailing is mediocre at best.”
Name something beautiful, remarkable, or inspiring in Portland…a building, space, environment, event, person, organization, or organism—anything goes.
There are a ton of inspiring things! I will slide past the hipsters, normcore, and random steampunk, and go straight for the murals and street art. I LOVE that I can be walking down the street, turn the corner, and there is a beautiful little gem.
Words to live by?
“Whenever I’m about to do something, I think, ‘Would an idiot do that?’ And if they would, I do not do that thing.” – Dwight Schrute.
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
What is the last book you read?
Oh, besides the soul-sucking misery of Kaplan and Ballast? The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.
If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?
Don’t even have to think about this one. I am assuming that great skill comes with this immortality, so my answer is definitely to fly around in one of those squirrel suits. To literally feel like a bird? Sign me up. And being immortal during this would be the ultimate freedom; not being limited by anything at all…well, I guess gravity, but whatever.
What type of music do you listen to?
Classic rock, oldies, alternative, country, indie, classical, 80s anything, podcasts—basically anything except rap and R&B. I will even give k-pop a go.
Tim Ferriss Podcast is amazing. He basically interviews people who are the best at what they do and talks to them about how they became the best, or what they do in their daily lives to be the top in their field.
Do you sing in the car?
Uh duh. But pretty sure people would prefer if I didn’t though.
What is your desert island food?
I’m going to make the assumption that this desert island is able to provide fruit, fish, and dark leafy greens in excess, so my answer is steak and potatoes. No, cake. Definitely cake. German chocolate, if you must know.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Learn how to count cards. Just kidding.
What would you name the autobiography of your life?
“And Then…” because I have a strong tendency to start my sentences already in the middle of a thought, like my mouth is catching up to my brain. Or I will just start talking before I’ve really thought it through. Moral of the story: my mouth and brain are not in sync. Either way, I kind of like the idea of a story that you are just thrown into; “And then…” also implies a continuation—it’s not the end. And I like that. And then I thought that.