Madison Thibodeau '23
Madison Thibodeau ’23 explored engineering and business during her time at the University of Hartford. She majored in Architectural Design + Technology with a concentration in construction management and minored in Business Entrepreneurial Studies.
While she graduated in May, she is continuing her studies at UHart for an additional year to earn her master’s in architecture and pass her architecture registration exams to become a licensed architect. Thibodeau even studied in Thailand this summer through one of UHart’s many study-abroad programs.
Both CETA and Barney provided her with different skill sets--she learned a lot about the field she is pursuing from CETA but learned the general business and professional skills at Barney that will prepare her for architecture and beyond. She expanded her connections through her professors and peers in Barney and expanded her perspective on career paths.
“I learned a lot about architecture while in school and had the opportunity to participate in events that reviewed my portfolio and resume for the professional field. Architecture school is project-based, which led me to make many presentations, a skill that I did not have prior to UHart,” Thibodeau says. “I was also able to make many connections through school to professionals in the field and connections with my peers who may also practice architecture in the future. Although I am nervous about stepping out into the real world, I am confident in my skills and open to learning opportunities that I believe will help me in my field.”
In CETA, Thibodeau was very involved in the architecture department beyond the classroom. She held a position last semester on the e-board of the American Institute of Architecture Students as graphics chair, making graphics for the club to post around the studio space, posting on social media, and assisting in planning and decorating for various events hosted by the club.
She was also on the general board of Women in Architecture and Design, contributing to discussions on current architectural events and women’s advancement initiatives throughout campus and in the architecture department.
Thibodeau also served as a studio representative where she met with professors and the department chair on a monthly basis to share student feedback and facilitate a better studio environment.
In Barney, she studied entrepreneurship, where she learned how to market and advocate for herself, which boosted her confidence in the professional world, and offered a glimpse of what owning a business is like.
During her undergraduate studies, Thibodeau worked for a general contractor that focused on residential building and commercial and senior living renovations. She was a project management intern focusing on day-to-day project preparation, various office tasks and maintenance, work orders, inventory, communication with subcontractors, invoices, and job site visits.
Madison Thibodeau ‘23, College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture and Barney School of Business
I really enjoy being in a tight-knit community at UHart. I have been able to make great relationships with my professors and learn a lot in my classes, but the friends I have made at UHart are irreplaceable. I really get a feeling of belonging at UHart.
Throughout both CETA and Barney, there were several campus faculty who helped her learn and grow. Thibodeau says Associate Professor James Fuller, the architecture program director, department chair, and her advisor, was always there to support her and push her as a student to do better and feel comfortable at school.
Professor Daniel Davis, who was her first studio professor, “taught me more than just architecture. As a freshman, I was very timid and afraid to mess up, and he gave me so many life lessons that I carried with me through my years at UHart,” she added.
Professor Stephen Smith gave her opportunities in the architecture department, such as helping her find her first campus job and scholarship opportunities, and encouraged her in his studio class. Thibodeau says that when she was ready to give up, he reassured her of her work and abilities, and pushed her even harder. “I think it really showed me a lot about myself as a student and helped me grow in my last semester of undergraduate school at UHart,” she explains.
At Barney, Thibodeau took courses with Assistant Professor Aydin Oksoy for two semesters, noting that he was the most enthusiastic professor she has ever had.
“He always kept me engaged and was flexible with me as a student when I needed it the most,” she says.
She thoroughly enjoyed his entrepreneurship classes, which combined operations management and other life lessons from the business world.
Thibodeau also says that Assistant Dean Celia Lofink was a great professor who gave her an eye-opening opportunity in her Small Business Practicum course, where she was paired up with a local storage facility in Hartford to assist with a renovation project. She learned how to communicate with a real business partner while focusing on school and staying on top of her work.
“It was a tough project and a big task, but she supported me in the classroom to learn and get my work done the best I could but also helped me navigate my first real-world design project outside of my architecture classes, which was both intimidating and exciting,” Thibodeau says.
Outside of her rigorous studies, Thibodeau strongly values family time. She plays golf and travels when she has the opportunity and enjoys trying new restaurants and visiting museums within Connecticut.