Some people take years to decide what to do with their lives; others know much sooner.
Nicholas Yager belongs in that second group.
“I’ve always loved building from a young age, and I knew that’s what I wanted to be involved with,” says Yager, a 2021 graduate of the Master’s in Real Estate program at Georgetown University and the winner of the program’s 2022 Tropaia Outstanding Student Award.
How young an age?
“Ever since I could play with Legos.”
And what did he build?
“Houses. I liked building houses.”
Which is fitting because Yager’s Capstone project was a plan for building 100 units of affordable senior citizen housing on the grounds of Gethsemane United Methodist Church in Capitol Heights, Md.—a project that the church is actively pursuing.
As an undergraduate at The Catholic University of America, Yager majored in civil engineering and architecture. But he didn’t want to take years obtaining the kind of training and certifications that he would need for those fields, so he chose something that would enable him to start sooner and be involved in all aspects of the building process: project management.
“Every action we take contributes to building something,” says Yager, now a project manager for Coakley & Williams Construction in Bethesda, Md. And these actions, taken together, “make clients’ ideas come to life.”
In mid-2022, Yager was working on two education projects in Northern Virginia: a building at The Langley School that will house the primary school, 5th grade, library, and other facilities; and a new science, technology, engineering, arts, and math facility at The Madeira School.
For Yager, “building” has come to mean more than putting up structures: It means creating communities, whether at the schools in Virginia or the church in Capitol Heights, which dreams of growing its congregation and, with the help of federal funds, doing its part to address the need for senior housing.
“The whole idea that my thesis could become a reality was super-motivating,” Yager says. “I put a lot of time, energy, and dedication into the program and wanted to do something meaningful.”