Tell us about your role at LS3P.

As our Higher Education Practice Leader, my role is to promote our firmwide higher ed teams and expertise both internally between offices and externally with our clients, consultants, contractors, and community partners.

What’s inspiring you right now?

Ongoing learning and getting more comfortable with vulnerability, my own and others.

What are the greatest challenges we’re facing in the industry?

Staying nimble. Change is a constant. Adaptability is such an important skillset as architects, designers, and leaders, and planning for and responding to: resilient design, occupant health and well-being, supply-chain disruptions, talent shortages, and the list goes on.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your role?

Try new things. Career paths can evolve into a pretty cool journey. Architecture has given me so many unique experiences and conversations with fascinating people that I never would have dreamed about while in college.

What is your favorite hometown restaurant, and what should I order if I go there?

Clara’s for pizza in Richmond, Indiana. It’s unique in at least 100 different ways. Where else can you order your meal on a CORDED telephone, eat inside a double-decker bus, and eat square cut pizza with crumbly toppings?

What previous job outside of architecture taught you the most?

Working retail taught me a great deal about customer service and being outgoing when all I really wanted to do was hide out behind the counter and not talk with anyone. I also spent a summer working for a small-town attorney, which gave me good insight into contracts, deeds, and other legal matters.

What is your superpower?

Baking pies. It’s in my blood from both my mom’s and dad’s sides, and I find it very therapeutic.

What place have you visited that changed you the most?

Quebec City. Fall semester second year, our class went to multiple cities in Canada, my first travel outside of the US. Quebec City was my first experience in a place where English was not the primary language, and it instilled in me a desire to continue exploring architecture and culture outside of my familiar bubble.

About Shawn

Shawn Sowers, LS3P’s Higher Education Practice Leader, serves as a firmwide resource for business development and design for higher education. She has over 24 years of experience as an architect, programmer, planner, and project manager for higher education, corporate science and technology, healthcare, and other market sectors. Her work has also included business development, marketing, design, and office leadership at large national firms.

Shawn, who holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from Ball State University, is actively involved in professional and community engagement. A frequent presenter on topics related to campus design and planning, Sowers, is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education, the Society of College and University Planning (SCUP), and Triangle Commercial Real Estate Women (TCREW). She is also involved with Edenton Street United Methodist Church and Family Promise (formerly WIHN).