Always a Panther: Alumna Builds Architecture Career with Teacher’s Support

Victoria Hernandez found her life’s passion in architecture classes at Duncanville High School. 

“I was able to get my feet into different areas in high school to figure out what I wanted to do. When I started taking architecture classes, I knew that was what I wanted to do,” Victoria said.

Today, Victoria is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) with a degree in architecture. She has been accepted into the university’s master’s program, and she is working as an intern at an architecture firm in Cedar Hill.

Victoria says her high school architecture teacher, Marissa Alsabrook, laid the groundwork for her success. During high school, Ms. Alsabrook took Victoria to visit UTA and encouraged her to talk to students there to learn about their experience. 

“I felt like I was more prepared than some of my (college) classmates because of my dual credit classes and because I already knew the tools and supplies we had to use,” Victoria said. “A lot of my classmates’ high schools didn’t offer architecture and Duncanville did.”

Victoria says the fact that she graduated high school in 2015 certified in RevIt, an architectural design software, impressed employers. American Standard in Grand Prairie and Jacobs Engineering in Fort Worth hired Victoria to work summers during her undergraduate studies.

Earning an architecture license is no easy task. Victoria must complete her master’s degree, 3,000 internship hours and successfully pass six exams. 

Victoria says four years after leaving Duncanville High School, Ms. Alsabrook is still there, encouraging her along the way.

“I still talk to her. I have called her when I’ve been upset about something with school and she is always there to give me pep talks,” Victoria said.

The Class of 2015 graduate is now closer to her goal than ever before. She remembers how she felt during her sophomore year of high school, wanting to create places where people could make memories: a house, an event space or hotel. 

“I wanted to draw whatever it may be, and I wanted people to be able to occupy those spaces,” Victoria said. “That’s my biggest thing, bringing people together.”