Student Spotlight: Kiel Fahnstrom

Kiel Fahnstrom

Kiel Fahnstrom
Major: Architecture

Kiel Fahnstrom's interest in architecture started when he was 4 or 5 years old.

"Growing up, I was always curious as to how the house was configured, what it would look like if I drew it on paper," he said. "From then on, I always had the motivation to draw houses, what they could and would look like in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional form. When I got into high school, I focused a lot of my elective credits toward architectural and engineering CADD (Computer Automated Drafting Design) introductory courses. By the end of my senior year of high school, I knew architecture was the career path I wanted to get into."

Fahnstrom enrolled at College of DuPage and earned his associate's degree in Pre-Architecture. He discovered a well-structured curriculum that rivaled four-year architectural programs across the country.

"COD has strong relationships with various four-year universities within and outside of Illinois, which allows students to transfer into a four-year program, finish their Bachelor's of Architecture degree and, if they so chose, move forward with their master's degree and licensing as an architect," he said.

After graduating from College of DuPage, Fahnstrom transferred as a third-year student into the Architectural and Environmental Design program at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he earned his bachelor's degree. He currently works for a small architectural firm, Kurtz Associates Architects, as an intern architect. He is making significant strides within the office, gaining the respect of his co-workers and affiliated firms which his office works with in teams. This has allowed him to continue gaining experience in all aspects of the building process, from developmental design to construction documents to project management.

Fahnstrom's ultimate goal is to become a licensed architect and own a firm branching into other disciplines within design. His advice to future architecture students is to pay attention to what their teachers say.

"Listen to them as they point out the mistakes you have made," he said. "It is the best advice they can give you to become an incredible designer. Even after your educational career is complete, you never will stop learning about the architectural field. As two very influential people throughout my life have told me, 'If you don't learn something new every day, you've only failed yourself.' This quote has resonated since I was 14, and I make it my goal every day to learn something new, no matter if it's small or big.

"My long-term goal has always been to become an architect and to branch further into other disciplines of design. At College of DuPage, I was able to broaden my horizons to styles and techniques of architectural practice."

More about the Architecture program