Unlike most little girls who were interested in playing with dolls, Julia Suriano spent much of her time growing up by her father’s side learning the construction process.
“Whether it was holding a hammer, ripping out drywall or pouring concrete, I was eager to help,” she said. “These moments piqued my interest in construction, and my love for architecture developed.”
Suriano's initial decision to attend COD was based on finances. She now credits the Pre-Architecture program for helping her develop all of the necessary skills to successfully transfer to a university as well as find her own potential.
“I learned so much from my two years at COD, not only about architecture but also about myself. COD pushed me to my limits, challenged me academically and allowed to me grow as a person,” she said.
Suriano became the first College of DuPage student to receive a one-year membership to the Association of Licensed Architects. She also received a presidential scholarship from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), where she transferred to pursue her bachelor’s degree.
Once at IIT, Suriano received a first-place scholarship from the Chicago Women in Architecture for a group studio project at IIT, a scholarship from the AIA Northeast Illinois Chapter, and a scholarship from the NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) Founders’ Scholarship Foundation.
“After getting through the steep learning curve of IIT studio culture, I was able to grow a lot as a student and an aspiring architect,” she said. “There were many talented individuals at IIT and it was nice to not only learn from professors but to learn from my peers as well. I learned new modeling/rendering techniques, methods of thinking and ways to approach design.”
Having graduated with honors from IIT with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, Suriano currently works for Williams Architects in Itasca, where projects include sports, recreation, aquatic, municipal and library facilities. She also passed her Architect Registration Exam and is now a licensed architect.
Suriano advises prospective architecture students to take classes at College of DuPage as soon as possible.
"There are many classes to take besides the gen eds and your schedule fills up fast. It is also important to make sure you take the architecture classes in sequence, because some classes are only offered in the fall or spring,” she said.
“Looking back, I couldn’t be happier about my decision to attend College of DuPage because I fell in love with the school.”