Friday, November 27, 2015


Meet a Roadrunner: Aspiring architect maps out future by looking to past

Laura Shipley

Laura Shipley

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(April 16, 2014) -- Meet Laura Shipley. This aspiring architect and historic preservationist is using San Antonio's rich historical landscape and proximity to cultural sites as inspiration for her future.

"I've wanted to be an architect for as long as I can remember," said Shipley. "I came to UTSA because I was really interested in historic preservation, and I think San Antonio is the best city in Texas for anything related to historic preservation. I've loved every second of being here."

Shipley is a student in the M.Arch III program, an architecture graduate program for students without architecture undergraduate degrees. As an undergraduate, she pursued degrees in entrepreneurship and studio art at the urging of a family friend in the architecture field.

While at UTSA, Shipley has made it her mission to take advantage of as many opportunities as she can by accepting internships with small architecture firms, learning the ins-and-outs of the business, to traveling across the country to conduct research, to moving to another country to better understand historical preservation and architecture.

Currently, she is finalizing research for her thesis project, a conservation project for the Boston Government Service Center (BGSC), a mental health facility designed by architect Paul Rudolph.

Shipley is trying to understand how to preserve buildings created as a response to modern architecture that values functionality over aesthetics. The BGSC design, she said, emphasized aesthetics to the extent that it exacerbated psychological trauma in its inhabitants in spite of its function as a mental health facility.

This past summer, Shipley returned from an independent study project in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she worked with professors at the University of Buenos Aires and a local city conservator on a variety of projects including conducting research on the architectural conservation of the various districts within the city. She received a Graduate Student Research Award for her efforts. Shipley was one of five recipients selected from 45 applications by the UTSA Graduate School to receive this honor.

In addition to her two recent projects and architecture firm internships, she is an intern with the Historic San Antonio Missions. She even helped prepare their applications for World Heritage Site consideration by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

As Shipley looks forward to her upcoming graduation at the May 10 Commencement ceremony, she said she will take all her experiences with her and put them to good use in her chosen field.


Do you know someone in the UTSA community doing cool things? Email us at, and we will consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

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