Yu-Ngok Lo, FAIA, an architect in Los Angeles, is one of 22 California architects to be elevated to the College of Fellows in 2020. Like all architects who enter this Fellowship, it has significant and special meaning to him. Read on to see exactly what.
From Yu-Ngok Lo, FAIA:
You have probably heard from other Fellows a thousand times “Fellowship is not the end of your architectural career, it is the beginning.” I couldn’t agree more. And I believe AIA recognizes it too. The FAIA title have shifted from a celebratory “padding your back” title to an inspiration over the years. That is probably why the recipients are younger and younger (such as Wyatt Frantom, FAIA, and myself).
The Fellowship also has a special meaning to me. As an immigrant, I feel obligated to show my fellow immigrant professionals that it is possible to have a career in the U.S. (especially in this unprecedented time) and being persistent in pursuing your dream is the key to succeed. I hope I can continue using myself as an example to inspire other architects to give back to the profession and their local community, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.
I received my Fellowship through Category 3 – Led the Institute. Being an immigrant in the country is never easy. Over the years, I lost count of how many times I thought about giving up my dream. Fortunately, I received tremendous amount of help from my mentors: such as my college professor, C.S. Chan, Ph.D., who inspired me to pursue a career in the U.S., my first boss, John Caldwell, FAIA, who encouraged me getting my license, and Bill Schmalz, FAIA, who sponsored my Fellowship application. Their help is unconditional. The success of my Fellowship application is my way of saying thank you and my promise to them that I will pass the baton and continue supporting / mentoring future architects.
Although I was disappointed when I learned the Conference on Architecture was cancelled and the investiture postponed, of course I understand it. I do appreciate the virtual ceremonies and recognition programs organized by AIA, AIA California, and local chapters. Due to COVID-19, one of the things that the College of Fellows did was dedicating the April 2020 issue of their newsletter to the Class of 2020 Fellows. This was never done before. I am honored to be the editor-in-chief of the publication this year and had fun putting the special issue together. I get to really know all of my fellow Fellows and their amazing achievement. Congratulations!
If anyone is interested in sharing their personal story of how they came to be elevated into the College of Fellows, let us know. Contact Shannon Calder for more information.