By Karen D. Hickey

While I was visiting Savannah, Ga., earlier this year, I was waiting to cross at an intersection when I spotted a girl wearing a t-shirt that said “architecture.” Being the inquisitive type, I asked her if she was studying architecture. She said that indeed she was, at Ball State University (BSU) in Muncie, Ind. Her mother, who was with her, explained that the young woman was studying landscape architecture and was in her first year. Because all of us were obviously on our way somewhere, I asked the student for her contact information so that I could ask some questions about her studies, and I gave her my business card.

The following interview came out of that short encounter. Here, Kailey Sherman, the architecture student I met on the street in Savannah, describes what she has been studying so far and how landscape architecture has become her focus of study. Kailey also put me in touch with one of her professors, Mr. Lohren Deeg, who is currently associate professor of urban planning at BSU. He describes how masonry is intertwined in the curriculum offered within the university’s College of Architecture and Planning. Thanks to both Kailey and Lohren for taking the time to talk with Masonry Design!

Whether you’re a student or a faculty member, if your architecture curriculum includes masonry, we at Masonry Design would love to hear about it and your experiences. Email me at

Masonry Design: What is your ultimate career goal? Do you have a progressive path in mind?

Kailey Sherman

Kailey Sherman: I was actually just accepted into the Landscape Architecture program at Ball State University. I am not 100 percent sure what I would like to do after I complete my degree, but I know that I would love to be able to work with parks and playgrounds to provide green spaces and really help bring the community together.

MD: What topics have you covered so far in your studies? How would you say the curriculum has been broken down so far into topics?

KS: During the first-year College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) program at Ball State, students learn about architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning. I think this is a great first-year program to have because students can learn about the three different disciplines before choosing which one they want to pursue. I actually came into the CAP program thinking I wanted to do architecture. After going through the first year, I realized that I wanted to do landscape architecture, so that is what I am doing now.

MD: Has masonry been part of your curriculum thus far? If so, what about it has been covered? If it hasn’t yet been covered, do you know if it will be and when?

KS: We did not talk much about building and design materials during the first-year program. We talked about certain materials during certain projects, but the first year is a lot of basic information and a broad overview of the three disciplines so the student can figure out what he/she wants to do. I believe that I will learn more about different materials, such as masonry, soon, since I have declared landscape architecture. Once you start your second year at BSU, you really start to learn more about your declared major.

MD: Are you satisfied with the education you’re getting in landscape architecture thus far? If not, what would you change about it?

KS: I am extremely satisfied with my architecture education from Ball State so far. Ball State has an amazing first-year program with professors that are helpful in so many ways. I have learned so much, and I can’t wait to continue my degree and see how much I grow over the next few years in the Landscape Architecture program.

MD: What practical experience are you getting, if any, during your years of study at Ball State? Are there internships or similar programs available to you? Is there help finding these, or do you have to look on your own?

KS: Ball State is great when it comes to helping their students find internships and helping them get out into the world so they will have a job when they graduate. During the fourth year of the landscape program, there is a semester set aside for the students to either have an internship or study abroad. This is a great opportunity because either will help the student succeed when it comes to learning about landscape architecture.

For more information on Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning, visit

Lohren DeegA Letter from Mr. Deeg

I am currently an associate professor of urban planning at Ball State University. I was Ms. Sherman’s instructor for the second semester of our foundation-level design studio sequence, shared among Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. I have been on the Urban Planning faculty since 2008, and was an instructor of architecture from 2000 to 2008, teaching at the sophomore and junior levels. My primary role is in teaching these beginning design studios and in the number of graphics/visual communication courses across the undergraduate and graduate levels. As an urban designer/master planner and illustrator, it is critical for me to know, delineate and teach how to represent several masonry materials in both hand and digital drawings/renderings as part of an initial vision early in the process.

BSU’s College of Architecture and Planning continues to have a close relationship with Irving Materials Inc. (IMI), a producer of concrete, lime, mortar and aggregates here in Indiana. IMI has helped support faculty lines for many years. Ball State has had a close relationship to the masonry industries in the sophomore year of the architecture program, with those design studios culminating with a studio-wide design competition sponsored by the Indiana Concrete Masonry Association — an organization of concrete masonry unit producers in Indiana and Ohio. That partnership ended recently, but similar connections to materials associations and producers remain.

I am also a BSU alumnus. As a young student at Ball State more than 20 years ago, tours of the limestone quarries in southern Indiana, and the gravel/mortar sites of IMI remain fresh in my mind. Product representatives continue to visit and share specifications, examples and samples, and donate to our splendid materials library, located in our college facility. They also offer “materials talks at lunch” for students and faculty. A full list of these activities is available at The librarian, Bradley Johnson, is always looking for networking opportunities with producers and more samples for the library.

In the required building technology courses at BSU, students are challenged to reach awareness and understanding of architectural wall sections and the beginnings of material specifications. Several design-build opportunities in upper-level studios also engage students with masonry materials. The critical issues facing successful walls are absolutely necessary for our students to know here in Indiana, as the freeze-thaw winter climate is quite tough on these materials, and because our regional market favors the rich and stable aesthetics of brick and limestone patterns and combinations. In our landscape architecture programs, a similar relationship exists with nearby brick and stone companies for the extensive purposes of brick paving, the sculptural qualities of limestone, and the necessary awareness of granite and marble across projects in landscape architecture. Likewise, our students in that program enjoy good relationships with nearby quarries and producers in their education, design-build opportunities and their courses.

We at the College of Architecture and Planning, Ball State University, look forward to many years of collaboration in the years ahead.
— Mr. Lohren Deeg

Editor’s note:
See more about Lohren Deeg on his faculty page:
Also visit his American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI) gallery at: