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Meet Caroline Tate, AIA

Caroline is an associate architect at Shepley who found her true passion in healthcare architecture, enjoying the complexities and high level of coordination involved in the design process. Caroline embraces a patient-centric mentality, ensuring that the design enhances the lives of the user.  

Read more about how Caroline continues to shape healthcare spaces through her unwavering dedication and passion for design. 

Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this career path?    

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an architect, I remember being eight years old, sketching floor plans on graph paper. I inherited the creative gene from my father, who’s an engineer. Growing up I had the privilege of helping him with projects and got to see creative thinking and problem solving in action. I began fulfilling my childhood dream by completing my bachelor’s degree in design and architectural studies at Arizona State University and my Master of Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin. The faculty and curriculum at UT Austin were phenomenal, providing endless opportunities for us as students to study not only architecture but also adjacent areas like landscape and regional planning, which has made me the well-rounded architect I am today.  

After graduating I had the chance to work on a few civic and religious projects but found my true passion in healthcare architecture when I came to Shepley. I love the complexities, different systems, and high level of coordination that are involved in healthcare design, not to mention the rewarding feeling of helping to optimize a facility so physicians can provide the best level of care to their patients.  

What motivates you the most? What are you most passionate about? 

As a healthcare architect, I’m motivated by the people on the receiving end. Knowing that my contributions to the design of a facility can optimize the jobs of physicians and change the experience that patients and their families have during some of the hardest days of their lives is an indescribable feeling. I’ve had the privilege to work directly with as well as shadow healthcare staff, allowing me to see firsthand how they go above and beyond for their patients. I try to embrace this patient-centric mentality when designing to ensure the user comes first.  

Can you describe one of your biggest obstacles? How did you overcome those challenges? 

Joining Shepley in the Fall of 2019 and being early in my career, the COVID-19 pandemic turned everything on its head for me. I was just learning how to navigate the workplace environment and how to effectively collaborate when suddenly there was a shift to a remote workplace. What helped me to overcome this was the Big Room approach the Mayo Clinic East Expansion project team took to establish a highly collaborative environment. This approach allowed our large team of designers, contractors, trades, and client representatives to function as one cohesive entity, which fostered extremely productive design coordination and in-field problem-solving throughout the project. It was an extremely rewarding experience and I continue to apply lessons learned and efficiencies from this project into my work.  

What do you do for fun in your spare time? 

In my spare time, I love any opportunity to get outdoors. I live near the McDowell Mountains and enjoy being able to take my Maltipom Bijoux out on the trails to enjoy some fresh air and exercise. I am also a bit of a foodie, so I love checking out new restaurants and coffee spots with friends.  


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