Jessica Baralt

Jessica Baralt



From the first drafting course that she enrolled in during her freshman year of high school, Jessica learned the possibilities that could come of seeking guidance from her professor and lifelong mentor. As a student in the ACE (Architecture/Construction/Engineering) Mentor program, she worked with her peers and industry professionals to develop capstone projects similarly to a design studio. Jessica complemented her ACE and technical drawing curricula with an after-school design internship at HLR Architects beginning her junior year of high school. The hands-on experience of applying these lessons to local building projects and engaging with the day-to-day responsibilities of architects strengthened Jessica’s confidence in pursuing the profession.

By the time she began her studies at the University of Virginia (UVA), Jessica had a strong sense of how design might improve communities and was eager to contribute to a proposal. With her peers and in partnership with the town council, the Grundy Teen Center was designed to foster the community’s aspirations and celebrate its Appalachian heritage. The project was awarded an Appalachian Prosperity grant, placed in the annual Jefferson Public Citizens presentation, and was featured in the AIA 2016 Emerging Professionals exhibit.