Melissa Daniel, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, LEED Green Associate
Melissa is currently a staff architect at WDG Architecture in Washington, DC. Previously, she worked as a Senior Designer for 9 years on embassies, federal buildings and government facilities at Karn Charuhas Chapman & Twohey (KCCT), a full- service architecture, planning and interior design firm. Her leadership responsibilities include coordinating work of project consultants and managing a team within the office.
As part of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Northern Virginia Women in Architecture Committee that has been selected as the host for the 2017 AIA Women’s Leadership Summit (WLS), Melissa serves as executive co-chair. The Summit is part of an ongoing national conversation for women in architecture. Goals include: raising the profile of women principals and leaders in the profession; sharing and promoting the design work of women; exploring new paths to leadership; learning from each other regarding issues and challenges.
On the AIA National level, Melissa has served two years as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council. As chair of the Pipeline Development Working Group, Melissa brings a fresh perspective on how to engage youths’ interest in architecture as well as reaching out to them through social media when promoting the profession. Melissa also wrote about her first year experience on the Council on the NOMA blog website. The blog entry caught the attention of Architect Magazine journalist and she was quoted in the February 2012 article Reverse Brain Drain.
Outside of AIA, Melissa has served as a steering committee member of SheShouldRun Frontrunner, an extended arm of the SheShouldRun non-partisan 501(c)3 organization that inspires more women to run for public office. Besides advocating for the Frontrunners program and for She Should Run (SSR), Melissa provided leadership and direction in the development and implementation of the SSR mission, goals and strategies. She also worked with the Chair, other Steering Committee Members, and staff to develop a plan for the implementation of Frontrunner’s goals and strategies. This includes identifying prospects and recruit new members & potential leaders.
In 2015, Melissa was named 40 under 40 for Building Design + Construction Magazine and in 2014 for Maryland’s Leading Women Daily Record.
Sarah Watling, LEED AP, Perkins Eastman DC
Sarah Watling is trained as a landscape architect and works at PEDC Architects on The Wharf. For over 15 years, Sarah has practiced research, development and design both domestically and internationally. Her interest areas are community-based strategies in resiliency planning; building rural-urban linkages in response to economic, environmental and population pressures; and the power of public art as mediator between ecology, economics and society.
Rebecca Costanzo, Associate AIA, Stantec
Rebecca is a visual voice for communites. She intuitively understands the subtleties of space, texture, and perspective – her renderings pull the viewer into in an imagined space. Her drawings coalesce the vision of various stakeholders, propelling the planning conversation forward. She is a passionate defender of the environment. Through design, she reduces the carbon footprint, encourages stewardship, and enhances resiliency. She inspires people to reconnect with nature, with the artful blending of indoor and outdoor spaces and the poignant use of natural materials. With her undergraduate training in Cultural Anthropology, she astutely observes behavior, facilitates conversation of diverse interests, and synthesizes inter-related processes at the macro level of the integrated whole. She brings a sharp graphic eye to projects, having worked as the in-house graphic designer for a real estate firm and then founding her own web and graphic design firm, serving over 50 clients. She also has helped curate two exhibits: “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream” at the MoMA in New York and “Low-Rise High-Density Housing”, at the Center for Architecture in New York. Rebecca is a perpetual learner. A student of cities – she has lived in New York, Chicago, and Washington, and has traveled extensively in Latin America. She holds an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from the College of William & Mary, a Master of Architecture from Columbia University; and has completed coursework in architecture at Harvard University, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and in landscape architecture at Virginia Tech University.