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Big moves pay off for Design School master’s student

May 2, 2017

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2017 commencement. See more graduates here.

When Travis Bradley chose to attend graduate school at ASU three years ago, it was a big decision.

“I left a career in the demolition industry as the branch manager for the Washington, D.C. area — an office I opened from the ground up,” he said.

He decided to leave his career after catching up with a friend, and fellow marine, who had recently graduated from architecture school.

“Something clicked. I spent the next few days figuring out how I could make sense of giving up an 8-year-career to pursue something I had no formal experience in,” he said. “I don’t know if I ever made sense of leaving, but I figured out I needed to shake things up a bit. I followed my gut.”   

He and his wife uprooted their lives in Virginia and moved to Arizona so Bradley could study interior architecture as a graduate student in The Design School at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

“Life is filled with big moves for me,” said Bradley, who is earning is Master's of Interior Architecture degree. “Thankfully most of them have paid off.”

Bradley, the Outstanding Graduate Student for the Herberger Institute, answered some questions about his experience at ASU.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

Answer: The richest experience for me was traveling to Helsinki, Finland with my classmates and professor Claudio Vekstein. One evening, we visited with Juhani Pallasmaa in his home for a conversation, and one comment he made was: “I’m not going to teach you what architecture is; I’m going to teach you who you are.” That was an incredible conversation. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: The Pat Tillman Veterans Center played a huge part in choosing ASU. Also, we wanted to be somewhere warm and on the West Coast.  

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Give it your very best on every assignment. You’ll get more out of it. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: James Turrell’s ASU Skyspace.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Taking a break and working on a small project.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Eradicate homelessness — I’m not sure $40 million is enough, but it would make a difference. 

School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute
samccar5@asu.edu