Sara Clark (Vreed) ’00
There is no doubt that Jesuit provides students with all of the tools and resources necessary to succeed. The art program, in particular, consists of top-notch facilities and experienced teachers who are committed to the program and its students.
With the help of these resources, talented graduates have been able to make both national and international impacts in their professions. Profiled below is the first of many who have applied their passion and talents in the arts to make profound impacts in unique ways. Check back in future editions for profiles on other accomplished Jesuit artists.
A graduate of the second coed class at Jesuit in 1995 and the Architecture program at the University of Oregon in 2000, Sara Clark (Vreed) applies her talents in the arts to designing spaces that are accessible for all and specifically cater to her clients’ needs. As an architect for the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Clark designs field offices for the United States government.
“Currently, my Area of Responsibility includes New York City and I am in awe of the dedicated team of Federal Law Enforcement Officers,” Clark said. “I feel honored to be able to apply my skills to develop spaces that support their duties.”
A main focus of Clark’s job is to read how people use spaces and how the design of the space will help maintain safety and prevent risks as well as enhance its overall efficiency.
This design movement, known as Universal Design, has been gaining traction ever since the passage of the American’s with Disability Act in 1990 and has continued to be a centerpiece for Clark’s work.
“I saw firsthand the sometimes humiliating or dangerous circumstances that came about when the built environment did not take in the needs of those with mental and physical challenges,” Clark said.
Through her Christian Service work in high school, Clark began to look at the built environment with new eyes to see how people really used spaces and how she could make the space better for the day to day experience while still keeping them visually appealing.
While pursuing her career in Architecture, Clark was accepted into the Rome Study Abroad program and spent a summer in Rome, Italy studying architecture.
“I travelled throughout Europe, was exposed to designs and buildings I had only studied,” Clark said. “That experience allowed me to go beyond the textbook and actually walk through these amazing spaces in the moonlight!”
In addition to her time in Italy, Clark had the opportunities to volunteer for a local Architect towards the beginning of her career, worked on projects for the USDA Forestry Service, the Max light rail system, and the first LEED Platinum Senior Housing Urban High-rise in the US, among many others.
“I have been part of teams that created the urban landscape of Portland, met people who shaped national policy, and support folks who were the first responders on 9/11,” Clark said. “I get an up-close view into the workings of local and national government, and even had the brief opportunity to sit as Planning Commissioner for the City of Beaverton.
Clark thanks Jesuit and its faculty for a lot of the core values and skills that she utilizes daily in her job.
“The work I did in Gail Fleenor’s course exposed me to mediums and techniques that resulted in a wide range of art work that was used for my portfolio,” Clark said. “Coursework in Mr. Simmons’ Physics and Mr. Benware’s English were instrumental in fostering an appreciation for the technical and nicative arts.”
Overall, through the foundation and knowledge base that Jesuit has given her, Clark has been able to positively affect the lives of people all around the United States and the world while continuing to pursue the career that she loves.
“I love what I do but most of all, I love how my career has evolved and continues to evolve without losing the core tenants: technical, communicative, and creative artistic trifecta,” Clark said. “There is not another job that I would rather do.”