Grad profile: Building equality

Convocation profile: Philippa Ovonji Odida, Architecture & Planning

- May 30, 2016

Architecture grad Philippa Ovonji Odida. (Nick Pearce photo)
Architecture grad Philippa Ovonji Odida. (Nick Pearce photo)

Inspiration can come from anywhere—and for Philippa Ovonji Odida, it comes from people. Originally from Uganda, Philippa began studying architecture with the goal of helping create equality amongst social classes.

“I remember when I started to realize what architects actually do, and what potential they had,” explains the Master of Architecture graduate, “and then started to realize that architecture can bridge that gap, that social divide that’s there in a lot of places”.

Philippa came to Halifax in 2010 on the recommendation of her uncle, a Dalhousie alumnus. After studying chemistry for two years, she transferred into the Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies and then began the Master of Architecture program.

Over the course of the past six years, Philippa has been actively engaged both on campus and in the community. She has tutored with Dalhousie’s Imhotep’s Legacy Academy, a mentorship program between African Nova Scotian youth and university students. She assisted in establishing Dalhousie’s Rotaract Club and was a teaching assistant for a number of courses. Philippa was also a member of the Dalhousie African Student Association, which enabled her to connect with fellow classmates from various countries in Africa.

“You’ve all come to this place, which is foreign to all of you, so that kind of unites you,” she says.

Philippa completed her last co-op work term with Dalhousie professor Ted Cavanagh at his architectural research unit, Coastal Studio. Following graduation, she will continue this work for another year, focusing on the design and building of a project in Cape Breton.

Fittingly, as it was helping people that inspired Philippa to study architecture, it’s the people that she’ll miss the most after graduating.

“You become a family, you start to grow together and support each other,” she says. “That is one of the things that I love most about Dal.”

The article is part of a series of profiles on members of the Class of 2016. Read all of our grad profiles. Spring Convocation takes place May 13 in Truro and from May 30 to June 4 in Halifax.


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