(Class of '91) Akiko Kyei-Aboagye - Architect
Akiko (Ako, as she was known at The Study) Kyei-Aboagye recalls her school days fondly, from playing sports at Murray Hill Park, hanging out in Mr. McCauley’s computer lab to receiving encouragement from her teachers. She had always been interested in visual arts, history, science, math and languages, and it was in middle school that Ako’s teachers first suggested architecture as a way of combining all of her interests. While in senior school, a career-shadowing opportunity with an architect further influenced her decision to pursue architecture.
Following her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Design at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ako obtained her Master of Architecture at Columbia University before starting her exciting career in New York City. She has worked in Manhattan firms specializing in residential design as well as renovations and refurbishments, spent eighteen months working on larger scale projects in Tokyo, Japan, volunteered as a design jury critic for area architectural schools such as the Pratt Institute and New York Institute of Technology, as well as being a team leader for community revitalization projects with New York Cares, a volunteer management organization.
Today, Ako is married with two young daughters, Mikaela and Kirie. She is an Associate with Urban Architectural Initiatives in New York City and has worked as project manager and designer on a variety projects, integrating sustainability and universal design, and making decisions of lasting change. This kind of innovation is incremental, and Ako believes working to do more with fewer resources seems to be a concept that will be central as the 21st century unfolds, whether in architecture or any other field.
Since the world today is so multi-disciplinary and changeable, Ako agrees it is very important for The Study to offer a good foundation in science, math and technology, as well as the arts, as these subjects are critical in understanding and keeping pace with new developments involving creative problem-solving and adaptation.
Ako’s encourages Study students to remain open to new experiences and input from all sources. Her life and career right now are very rewarding, yet quite different from what she had imagined for herself as a Study girl. Ako’s advice to Study girls, “find something you like doing and pursue a career or course of study purposefully, while leaving space to be surprised and delighted by the unexpected. That’s what makes life fun!”