For a decade, Marcela Oliva held the position of Knowledge Architect overseeing the $9 billion Building Program at the Los Angeles Community College District. During this time, she spearheaded the development and implementation of the largest Digital Twin/ Virtualization BIM/GIS System in the nation, meticulously adhering to National Intelligence Standards.Her area of expertise lies in Omniverse/Metaverse/Digital twins, particularly focusing on their role in enhancing social mobility.
In addition to her role at LATTC as a Professor of Architecture and Environmental Design, she is also the visionary founder of UCLA Extension Courses: Transforming Community and Design for Social Justice. Her professional journey extends beyond academia. At NASA’s Knowledge Management division, she played a pivotal role as the principal investigator for the Cyber-Physical Systems National Science Foundation Grant. Her contributions earned her prestigious accolades, including the California Governor’s Award in Geospatial Technologies and National Park Services recognition.
Marcela is actively involved in various organizations, such as STEAM, PANDO Populus, ENCOUNTER LA, and UrbanRiver LAbs. As a sought-after speaker, she regularly addresses audiences on diverse topics ranging from education and STEAM to technology, innovation, and social justice. Her engagements include prominent events such as USC's "Building Information Modeling for Executives," the International AIA, and Caixa Barcelona's "Focus the Nation."
Throughout her illustrious career, Marcela has been recognized for her outstanding contributions. Notably, she was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal by USC and named Educator of the Year in 2012.Her groundbreaking work in integrating biomimicry with digital twins has garnered widespread acclaim. Identified as a catalyst solution for Higher Education by esteemed institutions such as the Climate Neutral Campus Report, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) Building Green, and the Kresge Foundation, her innovative approach is shaping the future of architectural design.In 2016, her innovative spirit was acknowledged with the "Government Innovation" award at the International Bentley Systems event held in London.
In 2018, the LATTC Architecture Program, under her guidance, secured the prestigious National Park Grant. Furthermore, her students showcase their talent by clinching the top spot at the JUNK Battle PANDO POPULOUS Design Competition.
Currently, she leads the Mayor's Workforce Initiative for the Green New Deal, focusing on the AEC Industry Cluster through Careers by Design LA.
Her academic credentials include a B.Arch from USC, an M.Arch/Building Science Degree from Columbia University in New York, and a Harvard GSD edX Architecture Imagination Certificate. Her remarkable achievements culminated in her being honored with the 2022 AIA LA Presidential Award for Educator of the Year.