UMD Welcomes New Architecture Program Leadership Team

By Maggie Haslam / Sep 2, 2022

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ARCH Team Fall 22: Ezban, Gharipour, Asi and Stack.
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Left to right: Michael Ezban, Mohammad Gharipour, Laila Asi and Kristen Stack. Photo courtesy of Maggie Haslam.

First year students aren’t the only new faces gracing the halls of the Architecture Building this fall: Maryland’s Architecture Program returned for the 2022-23 school year with a new leadership team and new plans to grow and enhance the student experience at Maryland. Led by Director Mohammad Gharipour, the Architecture leadership team—which includes Clinical Assistant Professor Michael Ezban, Director of Student Services Kristen Stack and Program Specialist Laila Asi—is working with architecture faculty to bring new opportunities and coursework to the undergraduate and graduate programs. A student mentorship program, regular listening sessions, a new placemaking minor and new education abroad opportunities are just a few things in store for this year, along with a renewed focus on health, community, professional development and joyful learning.

“I really care about having fun,” said Gharipour at the program’s convocation August 29. “Based on my personal experience, school was one of the best times of my life and we want to make this a healthy and happy experience for our students.”

 

Meet UMD’s New Architecture Program Team

Who will clean up at a game of exploding kittens? What’s Professor Gharipour’s go-to karaoke song? Get to know MAPP’s new architecture team:


Professor Mohammad Gharipour, Director, Architecture Program

What is your favorite way to spend an off day? Taking a long walk or getting exercise at my local gym.

What is the most important tool a designer can bring to a project? Vision! We can bring our vision in order to create a community rather than a building.

What is something new happening in your life right now? Transitioning into my new job, learning so many new things every new day, meeting amazing people and planning exciting initiatives for the Architecture Program.

What is something you wish you knew in college? I wish I knew college days are literally the best days of my life! There is so much to cherish every single day as a student, and opportunities are indefinite! Just don't worry about the future and enjoy every moment of your college life!

What is your go-to karaoke song? Besides some Persian songs, Elvis Presley's Can't Help Falling in Love is a no-brainer!

 

Clinical Assistant Professor Michael Ezban, Interim Assistant Director, Architecture Program

What is your favorite way to spend an off day? Playing new card games with my family. Right now, we are into Exploding Kittens and Taco vs. Burrito.

What is the most important tool a designer can bring to a project? A willingness to listen.

What is something new happening in your life right now? Eating in restaurants again (masked)!

What do I wish I knew in college? That taking care of myself—sleeping well, eating healthy, exercising—would actually increase my creative capacity and help me to be a better designer. (In other words, I wish I knew that my mind and body are connected.)

What is your go-to karaoke song? I don’t do karaoke—too mortifying. But I sing with/to my kids in the car, and when I do I crush Rocky Raccoon by the Beatles, and any song on the Frozen 2 Soundtrack.

 

Laila Asi, Program Management Specialist

What is your favorite way to spend an off day? With an amazing cup of coffee and a nice morning hike/walk.

What is the most important tool a designer can bring to a project? Creativity.

What is something new happening in your life right now? I joined a book club.

What is something you wish you knew in college? Embrace every moment and don't be too hard on yourself. These are the times where you are figuring yourself out.

What is your go-to karaoke song? Britany Spears’ Baby One More Time

 

Kristen Stack, Director of Student Services

What is your favorite way to spend an off day?  My youngest plays volleyball and I enjoy watching her do what she loves. So right now, a good day off is going to a volleyball tournament, especially if her older sisters can be there too.

What is the most important tool a designer can bring to a project?  I am not really qualified to give design tool advice, but I recommend a reliable back up to not lose your work. Saving all projects together will help you when it is time to do a portfolio for grad school or a job search.  

What is something new happening in your life right now? I have decided to learn how to play poker. I am not ready for the World Series of Poker, but I am getting better.

What is something you wish you knew in college? I wish I knew to stress less and enjoy it more. I loved my college years and made friendships that have lasted a lifetime.

What is your go-to karaoke song?  Gloria Gaynor's I will survive.