Infinite Careers is a collaboration between Career Services (CAPD) and the MIT Alumni Association to explore career paths and the non-linearity of career decision making. Read profiles of alumni with unique career paths, hear their stories and network at a series of talks.


  • MIT, Master of Architecture
  • Princeton University, B.A. in Architecture

Olivia Huang is an architect at Goody Clancy in Boston where she practices reusing buildings and materials to reduce the industry’s contribution to climate change. In addition to working on existing building renovations from design through construction, Olivia helped research data for the Carbon Avoided: Retrofit Estimator (CARE) Tool and current volunteers with Communities for Restorative Justice. She earned her Master of Architecture from MIT and Bachelors of Arts in Architecture from Princeton University.

Making decisions, especially important-feeling career decisions, is really challenging for people at all stages of their career. What strategies have you used to make career decisions?

There’s often fear around making decisions, taking action, and getting stuck on a wrong path in the future. I remind myself that whatever career decisions I’m making now are the best I can make at this moment and are not necessarily the plan for the rest of my career. There will always be unforeseeable but formative events and opportunities that arise that I can’t plan for, and it’s okay to backtrack on decisions.

What professional development activities do you find really useful these days?

Asking for people’s feedback. It helps me in multiple ways. First, I often receive useful advice I hadn’t thought of, or feedback that I’m aware of but I can’t admit to myself. It also strengthens my connections with people – they are often pleased to be asked and they may become a little more invested in my success. In turn, I’m motivated to follow through so that their effort is worthwhile. If I hear advice I disagree with, it’s a chance to reflect on why and firm up my own opinions. Finally, asking for and receiving advice helps me pick up on how to provide useful feedback to others.

What career advice do you have for current MIT students, or those interested in entering your industry?

If you’re considering becoming a licensed architect, work for a firm that will help pay for the exams, and get the exams over with sooner than later! After finishing grad school, I gave myself one year to get used to working and enjoy a homework-free life and then I completed the exams the following year while I still had some discipline to study and before other parts of life could get in the way.

What do you like to do outside of work for fun/relaxation/inspiration?

I take dance and circus classes, I read sci-fi and fantasy, I share meals with friends, and I marvel at the lifestyle of my cats.

Do you participate in any volunteer/community service activities? If so, how do you balance your professional and personal responsibilities?

I currently volunteer with Communities for Restorative Justice whose time commitment can range from 1.5 hours a week to 1.5 hours a month. To stay balanced, I limit the number of major extracurriculars I’m involved in to a realistic 1 or 2 at a time. I’m willing to drop activities and come back to them at another time so that I’m not over-committed.

Last edited: April 2024