Svetlana Ostrovskiy, AIA

Associate

When did you know you wanted to be an architect?

I was trying to decide on a major while taking ESL classes at a community college. There was a very limited number of courses I was able to take without being proficient in English, so I quickly got calculus and physics out of the way and I figured I could major in finance. Once I was allowed to take relevant courses, I realized that I did not really enjoy them all that much, regardless of how well I was doing. The following summer, I signed up for drawing classes and when discussing choices of profession, the instructor told me about her friend who was an architect and their college experience. After doing some research, and realizing that the credit for all of my coursework could be transferred, I decided to give it a try. I have not looked back since.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. When I was 16, my dad won the Green Card Lottery that allowed the whole family to come to the States. We were given three months after the consulate interview to emigrate. The timing couldn’t be better, as I was lucky enough to be able to graduate high school and my sister was able to finish elementary school before moving.

Where is your favorite travel destination?

Issyk-Kul—it is a lake nestled in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan. My parents brought me there nearly every summer since I was a year old to go camping and hiking in the mountains for a few days, then spending the rest of vacation on the beach. I am really hoping to get a chance to travel there with my family in the next few years.

What’s the best thing about working at Mancini Duffy?

Work-life balance. While getting your work done is important, so is your family and your life outside of work.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Never assume. Prior to coming to Mancini Duffy, I worked primarily on residential projects, and it was easy to make assumptions about what people want in their homes. I learned that it is always better to ask because you never know what other person is thinking. Who would have thought that the couple who told us “they never cook” still want a full kitchen with professional appliances?!

What’s one accomplishment you’re most proud of?

A little over a year ago I realized that if I keep waiting to have more “free time” to study for my licensing exams, then I will never be a licensed architect. So I decided to schedule my remaining four exams back-to-back, giving myself two weeks to study for each one…and I passed! This was a great lesson in self-discipline.