Meet an Oregon Design Duck: Honour Colby

Honour posing on grass in front of vegetation growing on a stone wall

The Oregon Design Ducks (ODD) flock at the College of Design is made up of promising students, award-winning faculty, and passionate staff. The following profile is just one way our ODD flock is standing out and making its mark on the world.

Honour Colby is currently an architecture student in the School of Architecture & Environment (SAE). She works with the communications team as a Student Ambassador for the College of Design. Here's what she had to say about her why she loves the UO College of Design, as well as her educational journey and her GEO Study Abroad trip to Italy!

Honour and company posing in hard hats and high-visibility vests in a wooden frame of a building

Why did you decide to attend the University of Oregon?

The architecture program at the UO had exactly what I was looking for – it puts an emphasis on sustainability and encourages a culture of collaboration (rather than competition) between its students. There are a lot of group projects, and students are not graded against each other in the way that they are at some architecture schools. In my opinion, this way of doing schoolwork is extremely valuable, because that is how real architecture firms work.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve found even more reasons that it was the right decision. For example, I was glad I chose this university because of the way it has allowed me to dive into my own interests, even outside of architecture. I could focus on other studies as well and explore different areas of study at the same time. For example, I was able to work towards earning my bachelor’s degree in Romance Languages at the same time as my architecture degree!

What made you decide that you wanted to be a Student Ambassador?

I had a similar role before this where I was a Learning Assistant for a math course. In that position, I would go to the class and help students with concepts they may have had trouble understanding, grade their homework, and hold office hours – that sort of thing. I really like that type of work where you can interact with other people and use your expertise to help them in some way. I think that this role is ultimately doing that same thing but with something that I'm even more passionate about. Math is something I am good at, but I wouldn’t call it my passion.

Outside of that, I just really like the College of Design. I think it has a lot to offer and, since this is my fourth year here, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what we have going on, where everything is, and what it is the college has to offer. I also really enjoy content creation. I felt like, given my interests and skills, I could do well in this role.

Honour and her friends in front of the Eiffel Tower. The sun is setting, so the clouds in the sky are pink and orange.

You took a Study Abroad trip to Italy, with a bit of a detour to France. Can you tell us about that experience?

The study abroad experience was intensive but incredibly interesting. We were able to see a snapshot of the history of Italy’s architecture and the city's projects. Architectural history is something I really enjoy and always appreciate the opportunity to experience first-hand. The whole study abroad experience was great for me because I was able to choose a country that I’m studying the language of as well. Between speaking Italian and doing architecture courses, it was a way to combine my fields of study and put them into practice daily. It was a fun, real-life learning experience.

Obviously, outside of the educational aspect of the trip, it's just really fun to go and live in a city abroad with your friends. I was able to enjoy so many different experiences outside of the program on my own time that the trip felt like it was uniquely mine!  You definitely make a lot of memories from that experience and you learn a lot, too – about your field, but also about yourself.

After this, I spent a month in France with my friends, Liam and Connor! There we were able to explore and investigate French architecture. A study abroad trip can sometimes give you an opportunity to see even more in different places that may not have been as accessible to you before taking the trip. We were able to take delve even deeper into our specific interests in France!

You are going to be graduating this Spring! As you look back at your time at the University of Oregon, what is it that you’re going to miss about this place?

While it’s something I expect to find again in other places, the culture of our architecture school. The culture is really good in the studio classes at the UO. You make friends in a studio, and you become friends outside of class. You’ll go out and do things together outside of just school. That’s something I hope I eventually find wherever I end up working – friendships in the office that I want to continue a connection with even after work. That being said, there’s a time and a place for everything and my time at the UO is ending. I have loved my time in Eugene, and I look forward to what comes next.

Honour creating drafts on window, looking over UO rooftops

What are some of your favorite parts about Lawrence Hall?

Between my studies and working as a Student Ambassador, I pretty much live in Lawrence Hall! I love the second floor overall. The Hearth Café is nice, there are informal places to meet and hang out all over, and if somebody in architecture is displaying their work, that’s where it’s going to be. It’s very dynamic throughout each term. My number one spot is probably the Hearth. It was open for my first two terms as a Freshman, but then it shut down for COVID. I had been dreaming of the day it would re-open and I’m so glad it’s finally back again and everybody is getting to experience it again.

Why did you choose architecture as your major?

There are several reasons I wanted to study architecture. My dad is an architect, and we have very similar aptitudes. I also grew up doing art projects and building things outside. As I continued further and further into my education, I enjoyed history and fine arts, and then math and physics classes. I felt I was succeeding in all of these things, and I felt like architecture used a nice combination of my technical and creative skills. Architecture felt like a natural fit. It was a subject that interested me and that I knew I could be successful in. Outside of that, it also is a way to potentially have a positive impact on your communities and other people around you. This is a field where I know I can do good things for others.

Honour and her friends presenting a poster and physical prototype of their timber structure project

What would you say you’ve found most interesting about your studies in architecture? Has this interest impacted what you want to see in a future career?

Recently, I've been really interested in the visualization of projects! I do like the generative, initial stages of design but, because of my love of creating art, I find a lot of enjoyment in seeing and helping projects come to life in that way – through renderings, graphics, and things of that nature. In the future, I may seek out positions that focus on visualization. For now, I’ve been having conversations with and applying for entry-level positions at firms primarily in Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco. I'm mostly excited to get started with a firm that I am passionate about – the way that they work, the type of projects they work on, and their culture. I hope to work on projects that are inspiring, both to me as an architect and to those who will interact with my team’s work. That's the kind of thing I'm looking to do for the next few years before hopefully going to grad school.

What would you say to potential students who are considering studying at the University of Oregon College of Design?

I would say come to the campus, take a tour, and talk to a student about their experience. Everybody here has taken their own path or journey and has their own reasons for doing the things they do. School is different for everybody, and hearing what it’s like from a student's perspective is the best way to get an understanding of what that may look like for you. I think most people in this college would be very open to that.