Shawnda Rixey is Abilene's first female architect

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - There's more to architecture than throwing together four walls and a roof. It's an involved process, and it takes a lot of study to be able to do it well. Abilene has one new architect, and she's doing something no other woman in Abilene has.

Shawnda Rixey has been hard at work for years, studying and building up experience. "That means I have passed everything, and I'm going to be a registered architect." Now, Shawnda is just waiting for the paperwork.

She's the first ever female architect in Abilene, and it's taken a lot of dedication and perseverance to get there. Shawnda says that she decided that she needed to make use of her skills in design while facing divorce. She needed some way to provide for her children.

"Texas Tech University ended up being the college that was best for me." says Shawnda. "So I went through there, and I brought my two kids with me. My mother ended up moving to Lubbock to help me with my kids."

CADCO Architects-Engineers Vice President Steve Ellinger is very proud of Shawnda's progress. He says, "We're thrilled that she has worked so hard and been so persistent; with all of the obstacles in her life that she's come through to get to this point."

The accomplishment is still so recent that Shawnda isn't quite sue what to make of it yet. "I don't think I really know what it means yet. I think I've known it's possible for a few years. I don't know what I'm going to do with it. It is a big thing. I'm just not sure exactly what it means."

Even with that, there's one thing that Shawnda is excited for: "Seeing what this is going to do for me, what I can do with it. I'm pretty excited. It's all new. But we'll see what happens."

Shawnda says that she'll be getting more responsibilities around the office, but it's about more than just responsibility. There's pride that comes in having your name at the bottom of each plan.

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