Casa di Mir regularly reaches out to alumni to see where they are on their journey. Ashley Lam was once a Casa di Mir first grader with a love of art. She is now a UC Davis student of architecture. We are grateful to Ashley for sharing her story.
When I started as a first grader at Casa, I did not imagine that I would continue my Montessori education into my high school years. I have very fond memories of my early years at Casa, from my friends and supportive teachers, to having access to a learning environment that allowed me to explore at my own pace and be creative.
Many of the values that I have today are rooted in the time I spent at Casa. As I get older I am appalled to see social injustices in our world whether locally or internationally. And I feel fortunate that Casa had always instilled the importance of inclusivity in my classmates and me.
I am currently studying at UC Davis pursuing a degree in Design with an emphasis in architecture. I am in the middle of applying to graduate school and I am looking into architecture and lighting programs.
I have always liked working creatively, and I remember looking forward to art class on Fridays with Ms. Nancy. I couldn’t wait to get to my seat and see what project she had planned for us. The teaching materials in the classroom also, in many ways, translated well to how I learn visually.
I am now interested in how space can meet the needs of its users and be accessible to a wide range of people from different backgrounds. As our social climate rapidly changes, our buildings need to support the needs of evolving social groups, and a poorly designed building can be more damaging that it seems. Buildings can isolate people or bring them together.
The idea of an accessible space, that I would like to build one day, thematically is much like the inclusive space that I started with at Casa. As a first grader I did not know that I would one day want to study architecture and lighting design. But through a series of influences and compassionate teachers, it gave me the stepping stones to realize that I want to make our world more unified.