Growing up with a Belgian mother, Nicole Potts and her family often travelled abroad, where she was exposed to the beauty of the majestic castles and cathedrals of Europe. It became her inspiration to become an architect. Now, the 19-year-old is closer than she’s ever been to realizing her dream. “I’m excited because I feel like I’ve been ready for college ever since I was a sophomore in high school. Now it’s finally here and it’s what I’ve been preparing for,” she said. “I’m excited to be with other like-minded people.”
The 2015 graduate of Gahanna Lincoln High School and Eastland-Fairfield’s Architecture and Construction Management program is studying architecture at The Ohio State University. In addition, she works part-time as a designer at Keiser Design Group in Gahanna, where she’s been working since last April, while she was still in high school.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I’m like, ‘who else can have this opportunity?’ I was working at an architecture firm before I even got to college,” she said. Potts said she set her mind on networking her senior year, reaching out to professionals and creating a LinkedIn account. It paid off.
“I asked if I could come help out and I was there for about a month doing whatever was needed. Then June came about and he (owner Dan Keiser) asked if I would start working here in the summer. Once school started, it became more of a part-time job. It’s been great."
Right now, Potts is knee-deep in marketing projects, designing the firm’s website and new business cards and is in charge of all of its social media and blog posts. While she’s worked on a few presentations for clients, she hopes to become even more involved as her experience and schooling advance. “This has been really great as an introduction and getting an understanding of what I’m supposed to do,” she said.
Potts already had a solid foundation in architecture before she ever walked through the door at Keiser. She said the ACM program at Gahanna’s Clark Hall gave her real-world experience. “We had professionals come in and talk to us; we had projects that I’m going to see again in college and that’s going to be nice because I’ll already know how to start them,” she said. “I met a lot of people through that program.”