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Empowering diversity and fostering future leaders: An interview with Dexter Gladney, recipient of the 2023 Tennessee Wold Scholarship Fund

Wold Team

At Wold, we are committed to fostering positive change in the communities we serve. In line with this mission, we actively support education by providing scholarships to students pursuing degrees in architecture, design and engineering. The Wold Scholarship Fund, offering a $5,000 award, aims to support underrepresented individuals, foster diversity in the profession and nurture future leaders through impactful educational experiences. Recipients are selected based on academic achievements and financial need. Dexter Gladney, a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), was chosen as the 2023 recipient of the Tennessee Wold Scholarship Fund.

In a recent interview with our team, Dexter shared his heartfelt aspirations, experiences and dreams for the architecture field. With a warm smile, Dexter voiced his excitement about using the Wold Scholarship Fund to enhance his architectural skills. Read more about Dexter’s life experiences, areas of interest and more below:

What experiences in your life led you to pursue architecture as your field of study?

My interest in architecture was sparked during high school. While I was initially fascinated by high-end cars, a shadowing experience quickly revealed that the profession was not my true calling. My high school principal noticed my love of drawing and encouraged me to further explore this professionally. As I continued to pursue architecture in high school, I had a fortuitous meeting with one of my future mentors in Nashville who encouraged me to build my interest in designing buildings into my future career. That encounter sparked a passion for architecture that still burns brightly within my heart.

What do you consider the most exciting or innovative aspect of architecture, and how do you think it will evolve in the coming years?

I love using tangible materials and creating hand models that breathe life into designs. In the future, I think hand models will be produced at a faster rate, largely due to advancements in computer designs. I enjoy bringing designs to life through physical models, and I believe technology, especially 3D printing, will revolutionize the speed of construction in the real world.

What specific areas within civil and industrial architecture interest you the most, and why?

Growing up in Nashville, I have a keen interest in commercial architecture and infrastructure projects like skyscrapers and airports. I’m drawn to the diverse design challenges they offer and am looking forward to the advancements I hope to contribute to during my career as an architect.

What is one piece of wisdom you can share with those young people thinking about pursuing architecture as a career?

For anyone considering a career in architecture, my advice would be to look for joy and creativity within project requirements. There’s so much room for innovation if you allow yourself to dream of the possibilities!

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