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Janice is President of Olshesky Design Group, LLC, an architectural firm founded in 2000 with an emphasis on sustainable design, disaster resilience, and historic preservation services. Its portfolio includes a wide range of projects primarily based in the Washington, DC, area, with some also located in the U.S. and abroad. Janice has been a member of national and international teams that assess buildings and communities affected by hurricanes and tsunamis to determine how they can better perform in the future.

In 2008, she was invited by FEMA to join the Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) after Hurricane Ike came ashore in the Galveston Bay area of Houston, Texas. Janice was also part of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Tsunami Disaster Relief effort in Sri Lanka in May 2005. Her firm prepared designs for temporary housing and rebuilding efforts post-disaster. In addition, she sat on a panel for two Congressional Briefings and was invited to speak at the White House Conference Center. She presented her work at the 2010 AIA Women’s Leadership Development Summit in New York City.

Janice has authored several articles on Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Design. She chaired several AIA national committees and is an AIA Board member. Other memberships include the U.S. Resiliency Council’s Stakeholder Committee; the Historic Cambridge, Inc. Board; the Cambridge Historic Preservation Commission; and, most recently, the Board of the Maryland Association of Historic District Commissions.

1. What advice would you give to high school students today?
Find your strengths and develop them. Choose something you love to do. It will never be “work” for you. Be confident and believe in yourself.

In my case, I had an exceptional art teacher at Canterbury, Mr. David Krieger, who brought out my artistic talent in depth. But it was not until I took an aptitude test over a period of three days at a research foundation that I found out my best career choices were to be an architect or a film director. Both career options combined my artistic talent with my other aptitudes. I then set out to develop my architectural skills. I have had my own architectural practice since 2000.

2. What is your favorite Canterbury memory?
The beautiful campus, the wonderful conversations I had with faculty, and the friendships I made. There were many challenges while I was at Canterbury but also many laughs.

3. This fall you are celebrating your 50th Reunion on campus! What are you looking forward to the most?
Seeing the beautiful campus again, and finding out how my Canterbury friends are doing. I hope to catch up with some of my teachers as well. I am also looking forward to meeting other Canterbury alumni. The shared experience at the School ties us together.

4. Which Canterbury faculty member had the greatest impact on you?
Two Canterbury faculty had the greatest impact on me—Mr. William D’Alton and Mr. David Krieger. Both challenged me. David Krieger was exceptional in that he encouraged me to develop my artistic talent in new ways. My English classes with Bill D’Alton were extraordinary in that, as we read classic books, he exposed me to ideas I had not thought of before.

I had stayed in touch with Bill over the years, and he continued to challenge me and encourage me as I developed my career. He had confidence in me, which meant a lot.

5. What is something you learned at Canterbury that has stuck with you into adulthood?
How important it is to nurture and keep strong the body, mind, and spirit. This has helped me through many difficult times.

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