A little history.
Originally from the Soviet Union, I immigrated with my brother and parents to the United States. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was surrounded by families from all over the world. I attended the University of California, Davis where I graduated with a double major in International Relations, Peoples & Nationalities and Spanish. During college, I studied abroad in Granada, Spain for 2 semesters. I lived in a 600 year-old building with views of the Alhambra. It was during this year (including a lot of travel to Europe, Turkey & Israel) that I became interested in City/Urban planning and design. After graduation I briefly interned in the planning department at a full-service engineering firm but eventually ended up working for a boutique real estate developer in San Francisco. During the 3 years I spent working for this firm, I contemplated various paths, until one day through the help of a supervisor (architect turned developer), I had an epiphany that led me to apply for a summer intensive in architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. After the 8-week studio-based course designed for people with various backgrounds interested in architecture, I was hooked. The experience was life changing. That fall I applied for graduate architecture programs, hoping to come to New York. In the end I chose Parsons - when I came for an accepted students orientation, I saw a presentation by the lighting design department. I was completely overwhelmed/excited about this discipline. Immediately I understood that lighting was integral and essential to architecture. The opportunity to study architecture through the lens of lighting design, both daylight and electric light, is a clear path for designing inspired built environments. At the time, Parsons had one (the first) Dual Degree student. I applied to be become a dual degree student and that summer (2010) I began my journey. Currently, I am in my 4th-year (8th semester) of the Dual Degree (M.Arch and MFA Lighting Design).