When I was studying architecture, I was in the studios at like three in the morning. One of my professors came in and said, “I know you’re in here working really late at night. You’re here until three in the morning working on your projects.” And he goes, “Don’t you think that’s unfair?” And I said, “What do you mean it’s unfair?” And he goes, “Well, you know, you’re a girl.You’re really supposed to be a wife and be a mother and you’re really kind of taking up somebody else’s space that could legitimately go out there and do architecture.” And I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I couldn’t believe he said that.
At the moment that he said it I was mad and really upset at the same time. I was like, “I can’t believe that someone’s actually saying this to me.” And I made the decision at that point in my life, I was like, “I’m going to prove it to him and I’m going to prove it to myself that I’m going to be wildly successful, whatever it is I choose to do and right now doing architecture, so I’m going to be best in the class.”
So I worked my butt off, and sure enough I ended up being top of the class, and that same professor was a judge for a design competition at the end of the year and he ended up taking my designs to that competition and they won. But it was a real changing point for me where I was like, “This is probably going to happen again, again and again.” And so I just made the decision then – “I have to do really well and I’ve got to do really good for the girls.” That was a big turning point for me.
— Ingrid Vanderveldt