Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

Meet Our Scholars - Alumni Spotlights - Crystal Filep

Crystal Filep lives and works on the South Island of New Zealand, where she is undertaking a Ph.D. at the University of Otago. Her current research investigates new urban development in Sweden.

In particular, she is interested in how the architecture of new urban development mediates between residents, their communities, and nature. How do the architectural choices of designers and residents reflect or shape urban behavior? For example, do people interact differently when surrounded by a modern aesthetic than they do when surrounded by a classical one? Crystal's hope is that this sociomaterial approach will inform future city-making efforts through the recognition of architecture's power to mediate discourses (symbolically) and practices (materially).

Alongside her Ph.D. work, Crystal is involved in ongoing research, teaching, and design initiatives. She has published in leading peer-reviewed academic journals and has new publications currently under review. One of these papers explores the emerging use of diaries in social science research. Her teaching reflects this interest in research methods, and she has recently been involved in community-based research with second-year undergraduates. Since moving to New Zealand, Crystal has also collaborated on architectural projects with Sustainable Habitat Construction (SHAC).

During her past work for various design firms and other associations, she has been involved in high-end residential design, landscape architecture, and urban design proposals, as well as various sustainability and community initiatives. She is a member of the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism and the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. She studied urban design and architecture at the University of Notre Dame, which included two semesters at Il Centro Studi Architettura in Rome, Italy, and numerous European study tours. She received her Master of Architecture (M.Arch) and Master of Architectural Design and Urbanism (M.ADU) in 2010 from the University of Notre Dame, and she graduated as valedictorian with her Bachelor of Environmental Design (B.Envd) from the University of Colorado in 2006. She was awarded the Udall Scholarship in 2005, and was part of the Udall Legacy Bus crew in 2007.