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Two Auburn graduates become youngest licensed architects in the United States

AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) – Two Auburn University graduates have made history as the youngest licensed architects in the United States.

Hunter Swatek and Tate Lauderdale met in physics class their freshman year in college, not knowing that they would help each other succeed.

“We’ve always motivated each other trying to get things done,” Lauderdale said.

Between studying late for exams and completing projects, the duo faced many hurdles, including transitioning to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re trying to figure out in fourth grade how we’re trying to produce work that looks good on the wallet, that looks good so we can get jobs one day,” Swatek said.

Lauderdale and Swatek work out of Goodwyn Mills Cawood at their Auburn and Birmingham locations, working on a variety of projects ranging from school buildings to stadiums.

According to the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards, the average architect takes about seven years to become licensed.

Requirements include completion of the Architect Experience Program which includes 3,740 hours of internship credits divided among sections including Practice Management, Project Management, Programming and Analysis, Planning and project design, project development and documentation, and construction and evaluation.

The candidate must also pass the Architects Registration Examination, which normally lasts 2.6 years and consists of six different tests based on the knowledge gained through their academic work and internships.

Lauderdale and Swatek completed their licensing requirements 10 months after graduation.

Both envision becoming leaders in the architectural industry, hoping to make a difference in the quality of life in different cities and communities.

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