Student Profile: Pierre Fuller S.M. 2009

Pierre Fuller
S.M. 2009, CEE Doctoral Student

In 2001, 18-year-old Pierre Fuller of Flint, Mich., followed his long-held dream of becoming an architect by enrolling in the architecture program at Michigan’s Lawrence Technological University. He ended up getting two degrees — architecture and civil engineering — and graduating magna cum laude. Then, inspired by research he did while working at an engineering firm during college, his interests turned to building-information modeling technology and graduate school at MIT. He’s considering going to law school after he gets his Ph.D. This winter, Fuller, now 27, was one of two students invited to give a talk at MIT’s 37th Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

What was the topic of your speech at MIT’s MLK celebration?
Fuller: I based it on the biblical story of Nehemiah, who enlisted the help of an entire community to rebuild a protective wall around the city by getting each family to rebuild the wall in front of their home. As in the story of Nehemiah, I attribute my success of getting to where I am now to the collective influence of my mother, who was a single mother; my barber Sunny, who was influential when I was a youngster in keeping me out of trouble; and to my grandmother. My mother guided me, my grandmother taught me humility and Sunny kept me out of trouble. Each person laid a brick and protected me when I was weak. I used a quote from Dr. King about us inheriting a world house in which we all have to learn to live together in peace. I believe what is required for us to inherit Dr. King’s “world house” is that we have humility; that we don’t try to be the saviors of the world individually.

You began in architecture, then added civil engineering. Why?
Fuller: I had always enjoyed drawing and wanted to be a cartoonist, but in middle school I was introduced to computer drafting software and by the time I hit high school, I knew I wanted to be an architect. I took drafting classes my first two years in high school and then architectural drafting classes at a technical school nearby and got a job at a civil engineering firm doing drafting my senior year. I worked there summers during college and this led me to civil engineering. Then I decided to be a land developer; it would be a good investment strategy and I could do the engineering and the ar