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Carmen Huang sits working at desk.

Meet the Faculty of Architecture Emerging Leader

September 13, 2021 — 

Meet Carmen Huang, a Master of Interior Design student in the Faculty of Architecture who was recognized as one of the 64 recipients of the Emerging Leader Award offered at the University of Manitoba. The award acknowledges the contributions of students across UM for their contributions to the social, cultural, or economic well-being of communities on and off campus.

We asked Carmen the following questions:

Tell us about yourself

My name is Carmen Huang, I am graduating this semester with my Bachelors of Environmental Design and will be going back in the fall to pursue a Master of Interior Design degree. I love getting involved and being a part of the community that is within the Faculty of Architecture.

What are you most proud of regarding your educational achievements?

I am most proud of my growth and confidence that this was the right path for me. A big achievement that I am most proud of is starting CanU and being able to connect the Faculty of Architecture with future potential students. Being able to commit to CanU and my education and balancing life while excelling in school is a big achievement I am proud of!

Who or what inspires you?

My parents would always bring me to show homes growing up, let me choose finishes, look through floor plans and constantly let me rearrange my room. They sacrificed the most for my sisters and me, and always push us to work towards our dream jobs. They inspire me to pursue a career that I will love going to and doing.

How did your time at UM influence your current career path?

My time at the University of Manitoba and being within the Faculty has allowed me to make connections and create close and valuable relationships that I can depend on. Without the time I spent in studio, I would not have been as connected to my peers. My peers and friends have inspired me to keep pushing and growing as a designer.

What is one piece of advice you would give to students thinking about joining the Faculty of Architecture?

The advice I would give, that I’m still working on, is that the learning curve is huge and not to be discouraged by that. While it may take a couple of months or years before you get comfortable with crits and presentations, do not take the criticism personally. You will not be perfect, and the professors are there to stand behind you but also push you to be better. In the design world, you will never stop being critiqued and never stop learning, it’s okay to be hurt by a crit but bounce back stronger!

What professor, instructor, mentor, Elder, or teaching experience has had the most impact on your learning at UM?

The biggest impact on my learning would be a ‘Food for Thought’ lecture by Candice Wei. Candice spoke about her personal experience and design journey and I really connected to that! I was also able to go out for dinner with my Professor Kurt and her after her presentation, this allowed me to get to know her on a personal level. As she discussed opening her own interior design firm and the work it took to get there, I found it very inspiring at her age how much she was able to accomplish and realized that if I wanted to pursue the same journey it was possible.

What is one thing people don’t know about you (or your educational journey) that they would be surprised to learn?

While it may seem that I knew exactly what I wanted to do right when I got into University, I did not. For a long time before university, I always loved the idea of architecture and interior design, but I did not think it was realistic in terms of obtaining a career in Winnipeg. I was very set on the Faculty of Science or something in healthcare as a lot of my family was also pursuing the medical route. I always felt like I was taking a risk by not pursuing science or healthcare until my 4th year (ED3) that I realized having a career outside of STEM was obtainable. I am happy my parents pushed me to do something I was passionate about and that I stuck it out.

Congratulations to all the University of Manitoba Emerging Leader Award recipients!


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