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Ask an Acoustician
 What are you proudest of in your career?
I find performing arts centers in schools to be some of the most satisfying projects. I know the kind of impact that these spaces have on children as they grow up, and I’m determined to make them as acoustically effective as possible. These projects are also rewarding because they’re very challenging. Many spaces need to fit into these buildings; they all need to be isolated from each other so that they can be used simul- taneously, and the multipurpose demands on each space are incredibly high. For example, the performance hall needs to be reverberant for the orchestra but still clear enough to enjoy the amplified jazz band and to understand a lecture. At the end of the day, the design has to accommodate the diverse needs of the school’s program while still being af- fordable enough to build. I started several of these projects soon after I joined Acentech, and they are just starting to complete construction. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!
What is the biggest (professional) mistake you’ve ever made?
The biggest mistake that I’ve made so far happened because I didn’t ask a question, fearing that it would make me look stupid. It turns out that “no question is a stupid question” is a cliché for a reason!
What advice do you have for budding acousticians?
Embrace the unique perspective that you can lend to a proj- ect, whether it’s as a musician, a student, a resident, an actor, or an office worker, rather than focusing on trying to fit a “mold.” Take every opportunity to learn from your peers and colleagues but use these opportunities to develop your own voice so that you can take ownership and responsibility for your work. As a student, I think it’s important to be well- rounded. Strong foundations in math and physics are criti- cal, but written and verbal communication skills are equally important. If you have the opportunity to do research as a student, pick a project that excites you and ask questions that further your curiosity into interesting problems.
Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome?
How did you deal with that if so?
I’m experiencing it right now, answering these questions! If I answer them too honestly, you might all find out that I’m a fraud! In all seriousness, I think many of us experience imposter syndrome1 to some degree pretty regularly. As a young, female acoustician in an industry dominated by sea- soned, predominantly male, professionals I constantly feel the need to prove that I know what I’m doing. I operate with the mentality that the best way to prove my worth is by letting my work speak for itself, but it’s easy for this goal to come into conflict with my health and happiness. I recently began teach- 62 | Acoustics Today | Winter 2017
ing an acoustics course at Tufts. Having a classroom full of inquisitive students to challenge everything you say forces you to become intimately aware of what you do and don’t know. Pushing myself far outside of my comfort zone has helped me to feel prepared and qualified to do my work.
What do you want to accomplish within the next 10 years?
In addition to designing successful buildings, I have 2 prima- ry goals for the next 10 years of my career: to make progress toward bridging the gap between academia and consulting and to promote greater access to (and interest in) acoustics education.
There is so much relevant acoustics research at universities around the world, particularly related to acoustical simula- tion and auralization. I am determined to find ways to em- ploy those advances in consulting and to motivate new re- search topics from project experience as a consultant.
Architectural acoustics is a fascinating field of interdisci- plinary study, but it’s frustrating to me that it’s limited (at least in the United States) to so few schools and often only introduced at the graduate level. I think that the industry would benefit immensely from greater diversity and infu- sion of new perspectives, and there are a lot of people out there that would make great acousticians, if they only knew about the field!
1 Imposter syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing high- achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud” (Wikipedia).

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