Miami Native Transforms Passion into Skill

By UM News

Miami Native Transforms Passion into Skill

By UM News
Emily Elkin plans to use her Master of Architecture to design impactful solutions to problems urban communities face.

Emily Elkin headshotA Miami native, Emily Elkin spent her elementary school summers at the Lowe Art Museum, where she found joy in drawing and creating. Years later, she returned to the same campus for the University of Miami’s Master of Architecture program, where she continued designing and is now determined to hone her skills for positive community impact. 

Elkin’s initial desire to make a difference in the world was ignited during her formative years at Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, Florida, as well as an eye-opening experience at Seeds of Peace in Otisfield, Maine. As a teenager at Seeds of Peace, Elkin was part of the American delegation that worked with young people from areas of heated conflict in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The participants, some of whom have remained close friends, would have a profound impact on how she viewed the world, opening her mind to view problems from all perspectives, and opening a window of understanding how different cultures and communities may be impacted by, and cope with, social, economic, environmental, and political issues. 

Elkin completed her Bachelor of Arts and Science at Tufts University, majoring in architectural and urban studies. Social conscience was at the core of her studies, combining her passions for tackling social issues with her love for innovative design. In her senior year, Elkin interned at Boston’s MASS Design Group, a firm whose mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity. She learned how a group of passionate professionals could use their collaborative skill sets to empower communities worldwide through thoughtful design and planning of public spaces and special-purpose buildings. 

Elkin returned to UM to complete her Master of Architecture and transform these concepts and passions into real-world and applicable skills. She immediately began collaborating with professors and students, taking advantage of curriculum focused on resiliency, public health and community culture. “I am grateful for the guidance of the School of Architecture’s Joanna Lombard, Carie Penabad, Allan Shulman and other faculty who enabled me to reach into different niches that the school has to offer and expand my engagement beyond the architecture studio,” she said.

Elkin also enjoyed the opportunity to apply what she learned about climate change, sustainability and resiliency while interning at Van Alen Institute in New York City. “As I graduate, I am devoted to working to successfully design impactful solutions to the problems urban communities face today,” she said.