Student Stories: Michelle Binet

Student Stories: Michelle Binet


Major: Architecture

Michelle Binet wasn’t always interested in architecture. She started her college career at Drake University studying chemistry.

“I realized that being a scientist was not in my heart and I had to figure out pretty quickly what I wanted to do as a career,” she said. “I started to think about the things that interested me while I was growing up. I had always loved art, Legos and problem solving, so I took these interests to the career counselors at College of DuPage before the semester started and asked them to help place me in something that would be suitable.”

The counselor suggested she meet with Architecture program coordinator Jane Ostergaard to see if architecture was the right path.  

“Jane was extremely helpful in discussing the curriculum and what would happen after COD, which I hadn’t thought about,” she said. “She helped me from A to Z with transferring the credits I had earned at Drake to what classes I would need to transfer to an architecture school after COD. I followed her suggested path, got involved in the Architecture Club and made lifelong friends.”

After graduating from COD’s Architecture program, Michelle Binet transferred to Illinois Institute of Technology to complete her bachelor’s degree. While she felt prepared for the transition academically, the class sizes, compared to what she experienced at COD, were jarring.  

“IIT is a great school, but the classes can be so large that the professor might not know who you are or if you even came to class that day,” Binet said. “The professors in the COD Architecture program, specifically Jane Ostergaard and Mark Pearson, created a studio family. They created the foundation that I needed to push myself to be a better student and to stand on my own when I transferred.”

Binet now works at AECOM, a global engineering firm headquarted in Los Angeles, as a lab designer in the science and technology department. She works with high profile clients such as Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and DOW Chemical.

“If not for the faculty at COD guiding me along the way, I don't know where I would be in my career,” she said.

Her advice to future COD students is to take advantage of the counselors on campus.

“Without the suggestion of the counselor to talk to Jane and explore the Architecture program, I would definitely not be where I am today.”

More about the Architecture program