Sophie Doughty will walk across the stage and receive her bachelor’s degree from the School of Architecture’s five-year program. Born and raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Doughty was recruited by the University of Miami for rowing. Through her first four years at UM, she was the coxswain for the women’s rowing team where her responsibilities included steering the boat, and coaching — or coordinating — the power and rhythm of the rowers.
After her four-year rowing eligibility ended, Doughty studied abroad the first semester of her last year in Rome, Italy, where she immersed herself in a different country while working near historic architecture. Upon graduation, Doughty will move to Stamford, Connecticut with her boyfriend to work at Charles Hilton Architects, a high-end personal-homes firm located in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Miami Hurricane: How did you choose UM?
Doughty: So, what happened was that my brother actually came here. That put it on the map for me. I knew I wanted to do architecture, and I knew I wanted to do rowing — and I also wanted it to be warm. So, this is really the only school in the country that has all three of those. I was also being recruited here so it kind of just all worked out. And once I came down and visited, I fell in love and became set on becoming a Hurricane.
TMH: What’s your most memorable moment of being on the UM Rowing Team?
D: I think it was all pretty amazing. Waking up every morning kind of sucked but waking up every morning and getting to see my teammates really built this camaraderie and almost a sisterhood. I know a lot of people that joined sororities, and I felt like I didn’t need to do that because I already had this family. We always did such fun things together like we’d have Easter Brunch, we’d do all these little things together. So, the whole family experience of it was the best part.
TMH: When did you know you wanted to do architecture?
D: In high school, I did this architecture class and it was really basic just learning AutoCAD and basic designs. After that, I thought “I think I want to do this.” So then, when I applied here, I applied to the architecture school and I got in. Then from there, I was not really sure but then after the first semester I loved it. I love the creativity of it, that it’s kind of like art, but then you’re designing something that’s functional and usable. I just love the program and how they do it. I love being able to get in and start designing initially. Day one, you’re in a studio, given a project, and you start designing. It’s definitely different than most majors. There’s not a lot of tests or anything, it’s just kind of furthering your abilities.
TMH: What would you say a typical day has been like for you these past five years?
D: With rowing, it was a little different. I would wake up at five [a.m.], go to practice, be back by 9:30 [a.m.], go to class, be in class all day, probably have an afternoon practice, and then nights were spent in the studio or on my computer just working, working, working. It’s definitely a lot more hours than I think people think. It was a lot of all-nighters and kind of managing. Now, I work in the Office of Emergency Management 15 hours a week so that kind of has taken over my rowing schedule. So, I wake up, I have some mornings off so I’ll come here [School of Architecture] and get some work done, go to work — it’s a little more laid back, but I feel like I did better in the previous semesters when I had a crazy schedule because then, you only have two hours to do this, there’s no other time to do it, you have to sleep tonight!
TMH: What’s the best part of being an architecture major?
D: Well, I went to Rome because our school has a Rome program. So what happens is that you apply and you get in, they’ll send you over with our professors. Our professors will come over for two or three week installations and teach you in Rome. That was the highlight. When I got to Miami, I saw the Rome program and thought “I’m going, this is my highlight.” It’s one of those things during your four years where all the professors are like “Oh, well, you’ll see this in Rome,” or “Oh, you’ll do this when you go to Rome” and “Oh, you’ll probably go on a trip down here.” And so that was four years of buildup. It was amazing. That was something that I tell everyone, go abroad, you have to do it. Because it was just such a fun experience. It was a good transition for me because, for rowing, I could only do four years, so after that, this was the first and last year that I’m not rowing so having that semester of transition of having something completely different, not on campus, not in the country, it was awesome. I met some awesome people and we became like one big family.
TMH: What was Rome like? What did you see while you were there?
D: My roommate and I lived in Campo de’ Fiori, we were right in the center of town, around all the historical monuments and everything. And our studio was next to the Vatican. So, every morning we were walking through the Vatican and walking by St. Peter’s. By the end it was like, “Oh yeah, there’s St. Peters.” My family came to visit and I was running by through things and they were like “Wait a minute! That’s – ” and I would say “No, no, no, we’re going somewhere else follow along, come on!” That was insane. Our professors took us all over Rome, we really went into Italy — we went to Milan, we went to Venice, Naples, Pompeii — we really did everything. I was really glad. I had never been to Italy; it was on my bucket list so I wanted to do everything. I wanted to explore it completely in the semester that I had. It was great.
TMH: You seem very motivated, what drives you? What would you say is the one thing that drives you?
D: I don’t know. My family has always been very supportive in everything, so I guess when it comes to school I’ve always wanted to make them happy. But also, for myself. I have certain standards that I have to meet. I’m still a pretty chill person. I’m definitely not someone who’s here pulling all-nighters every night — and some people are — but I know what I want to do so I think I’ve seen the path of how to get there. So, the next stage is what’s motivated me.
TMH: What is the next stage?
D: I got a job working in Greenwich, Connecticut working for Charles Hilton Architects, it’s a firm that’s high-end residential homes in the Greenwich area. My boyfriend and I are moving up May 29. We’ll be driving up to Stamford. We have an apartment and are starting the next chapter. I’m excited. I miss home a lot and it’s kind of like home. It’s close.
TMH: The semester is ending this week, how are you feeling right now?
D: I want to be done. I’m at that point where I’m just so excited. I’m someone who always has to know what the next step is. So, once I got this job there was a huge weight off my shoulders. […] It hasn’t hit me yet because this next week and a half is my hell week. But then after that I think it’s going to hit me, and I think I’m going to freak out. […] I’m excited though, it’s kind of like a new adventure. I think I’m really going to like Connecticut. Honestly, if you would’ve told me a year ago I would be moving to Connecticut, I’d say, “No, I’m not. That’s crazy” but now after being there, seeing it, meeting the firm, I’m like, “Yeah, this is totally the right next step for me.”
TMH: What would be your advice to future ‘Canes?
D: Experience everything. Any opportunity you get here, it will never be like this again. You’re never going to meet this many people at once again. Just seize every opportunity. Go study abroad — that’s the best thing anyone can do. You’re never going to get the opportunity to go away for four months, live in another country and immerse yourself in the culture and meet new people and figure out new ideas. I think the main thing is just be open to whatever is sent your way.
TMH: Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?
D: The firm I’m going to be working with is something that I can see long-term. There’s a lot of opportunity to move up and develop your skills and everything. I can see myself being there.
TMH: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in these five years of school?
D: Time management. Having juggled so many things, I feel like I can manage my time very well but also teamwork. Through architecture, through rowing, through everything — that’s a big part of life — being able to work with others, being able to communicate with others. It’s a huge part of architecture. No one designs — rarely do people design buildings by themselves.
TMH: Sophie is ________?
D: A fun-loving person. I’m chill but then not too chill. I’m definitely an organized person. I don’t know. I’m kind of crazy … just the right amount!
Correction, April 22: This article originally stated that Sophie was born and raised in Marlborough, Massachusetts. This is incorrect. She was born and raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts.