Yesenia Suchil Tijerina, Assoc. AIA is a project manager at ERO Architects in McAllen. She has been a part of the AIA since 2015, and is an active member of the AIA LRGV chapter. Learn more about Yesenia in the Q&A below!
What has been your involvement with AIA?
I actively participate in several committees with AIA Lower Rio Grande Valley, and I attend most of the AIA LRGV events throughout the year. Being an active member of AIA has allowed me to meet and learn from people in related industry fields. This has allowed me to expand and strengthen my network as a young professional. I also support and participate in events for Engineers and General Contractors associations. I enjoy being a liaison for the design industry in my community. I have been invited to be part of different panels promoting higher education and advocating for women in the architectural design industry.
What is a professional accomplishment you are proud of?
I am proud to take part in shaping the built environment in my community. I am fortunate to have most of the projects I have been part of relatively close to where I live. I feel fulfilled when I pass by school districts, churches, municipal buildings, restaurants, and other commercial buildings where I was the project manager or part of the team. Every building tells a story, from concept to construction and through its lifetime, and I am proud and grateful to be a piece of that story.
Where was your first job, and what did you learn?
I am from a small town near the border with Mexico. While attending Texas A&M University for my undergraduate degree, I obtained my first internship near my hometown. It was at a small firm with less than ten people. During my first week on the job, I attended site visits, worked on different projects at different design stages, and participated in client-architect meetings. I quickly learned that great opportunities are available in big and small cities and that it did not matter where I was because I could make a difference regardless. I am grateful for my first job opportunity because it paved the way to a fruitful career.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
When asked what career I wanted to pursue after high school, I would say architecture. Most of my peers were choosing a medical or engineering degree, but not me. No one in my family is in a related field, and choosing this career path was not common in my community. I had no role model or anyone to ask for advice or expectations in this industry. All I knew was I wanted to design buildings and structures that stood the test of time, just like the pyramids in Mexico and Egypt. I am grateful for my decision and dedication to continue this career path. I would tell my younger self to keep working hard because it will be worth the effort and lead to a unique and fulfilling career.
Share something about yourself that others may not know.
Recently, I have discovered a calling to grow plants and vegetables. I have been growing vegetables in raised beds, different types of house plants, and succulents for over a year. I have always wanted to grow vegetables and enhance my home with native plants. I did not know what to expect when I started this hobby about a year ago. I am surprised at my success and pleased to say I have quite a green thumb. I want to believe this might have to do with the meaning of my last name, Suchil. Suchil means flower in the native Aztec language.
What has been your favorite part of your career so far?
The best part of my career so far has been being able to practice architecture in my community and share my experience with young adults who want to pursue a similar career path. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and giving advice to the younger generations. I was invited to teach at the local community college for the architectural program, where I was a lecturer for a few semesters. Seeing firsthand how talented young students are in my community makes me excited for the future of the Rio Grande Valley.
What legacy do you want to leave?
I want to continue sharing my love and passion for design and architecture with young professionals. I want to inspire them to continue to enhance our rich culture and growing community.
This post is a part of our “Member Spotlight” series, which highlights TxA members who are making amazing contributions to the architectural community. If you know a TxA member who exemplifies our mission of supporting the creation of safe, beautiful, sustainable environments, you can nominate them to be featured here.