May 2, 2019 2019 Graduating Students: Elizabeth Ott

Student Stories

Meet some of our amazing 2019 graduates: Dylan Bagnasco, Subu Bhandari, Patrick Keogh, Elizabeth Ott, Niklos Toldi, and Kyra WuThese students are representative of our graduates’ dedication to their craft, commitment to academic excellence, collaborative spirit, innovative nature and overall resilience. They’ve worked diligently to reach graduation and now have reflected on their experience as well as offered advice for younger students. We thank these students and send congratulations to all our 2019 graduates.  

Elizabeth Ott

student with work pinned up

Elizabeth Ott is one of our spring 2019 Bachelor of Architecture graduates from Clarksville, Tennessee. During her time in the college, Elizabeth was heavily involved, contributing her time and leadership to several student organizations, including American Institute of Architecture Students, Freedom by Design—both locally and nationally, Alpha Rho Chi and the UT Normandy Scholars program.

What inspired you to choose a path in Architecture?

Well… I kind of applied on a whim. I visited my cousin at North Carolina State when she was majoring in industrial design, and I loved the culture of an open studio and creative atmosphere with messy fabrication. I applied to UT, and I lucked out with an environment that was conducive to these ideas.

students in neyland stadium at football game

How has your view or perspective of the field evolved since beginning the program? 

My perspective of architecture has shifted from a profession that is deeply methodical and clean-cut to recognizing that there is no right answer to design. If anything, my perspective has matured to one that values adaptability and the importance of the story. I never knew a building could have a story, but now it makes so much sense.

What led you to apply to the Normandy Scholars program? How has this program played into your overall education experience in the UT College of Architecture and Design? 

My family is the main influencer in my decisions and thinking. I’ve been taught to be thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given by being born in the U.S. Most of my family and ancestors served their country in the military, and I grew up living adjacent to a military base. My brothers and I were attuned to the sensitivities, and we were taught to honor those who serve our country. Although this class was taken in my last semester of undergrad, I believe it will impact me in the years to come. We have had difficult conversations about memorial types, how they impact the public, and who the memorials are for.

student presenting during finals

Can you tell us your favorite memory over the past five years? 

My favorite moments from college occurred during the final review period. Although it was difficult path to finals, it was wonderful feeling to be done while getting to admire the progress and amazing thoughts being presented around me. Nothing beats celebrating our work and progress.

students playing kickball

What advice do you have to incoming students about college or the program/getting involved?

If you want to thrive, it is critical to get involved. It is your opportunity as a student to enrich the school and make the change you want to see happen.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I will be traveling with the Normandy Scholars program to London, Normandy, Paris, and Amsterdam, and I will spend a little extra time in London. Otherwise, I plan to join the profession and start working towards licensure, as well as pursue hobbies that have been on the back burner for school.

students at conference

Anything else you’d like to share about your time at UT or in the college?  

Although [completing this degree] was the toughest challenge I’ve yet to experience, I believe that it has molded me into an individual who can communicate with others, tackle problems, and challenge design norms. I feel that I can do anything with the education I’ve gotten.