The HCD 10 Educator   

Jennifer T. Matthews

Assoc. AIA, associate, architectural designer, Array Architects (Washington, D.C.)

Mission statement: “To serve as an architectural design leader, advocate, and educator for students and recent graduates who are unaware of their career options and design interests. My drive within architecture is to mentor emerging professionals through educational events to support their growth. This resonates with me personally, as I’m exploring my place within our industry as a practicing architectural designer.”

Who she is: Joining Array Architects right out of college in 2015, Matthews has quickly risen to become a leader in the Washington, D.C. studio, with current healthcare clients including Children’s National Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, and MedStar Health. However, it’s her dedication to encouraging emerging design professionals to consider a career in healthcare that’s been instrumental in her trajectory.

Year in review: For the past two years, Matthews has spent much of her free time organizing Array’s Mind the Gap conference, with the goal of introducing design students from area universities to various aspects of healthcare design. She managed and led her team in selecting speakers, attending career fairs, executing marketing outreach, choosing a venue, and securing sponsorships. By bringing together industry professionals—from both healthcare and design— students and emerging professionals are exposed to the many ways they might influence the healing environment. For example, the one-day event introduces attendees to myriad career paths, spanning from in-house facilities staff to architects to product designers. Additionally, Matthews is an avid contributor to Array’s blog, advocating for the need for industry colleagues to constantly grow and learn as design professionals.

Industry impact: Short-term internships and design studios often don’t provide the necessary exposure to various project types and career paths available in any design field. Matthews’ work on Mind the Gap seeks to solve that by providing a platform for healthcare-focused learning at an early stage in one’s career development. Not only does this expose a new generation of designers to opportunities in healthcare, but it provides established professionals the ability to give back to others during a pivotal point in their career—a win-win.

What’s next: While serving on multiple healthcare design project teams, Matthews will be kicking off the planning efforts for the third annual Mind the Gap event. She is also testing for the Architect Registration Examination and acquiring a Master of Arts in business design and arts leadership from the Savannah College of Art and Design.