Robert Shoaff


Master of Science in Architectural Studies, Architecture and Urbanism Discipline (MIT '99) / Bachelor of Architecture (NYIT '97) / Associate of Arts in Architecture (HACC '93)


Rob joins Fusion Academy with a focus on Lifelong Learning. Formally trained as an architect and urban designer, he holds a masters degree from MIT and has over 15 years of professional experience in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry. The experience gained during that time encompassed a variety of building types and diverse sites, allowing him to work on projects from Harrisburg’s Southern Gateway Project, to Hope VI housing in Philadelphia, Trenton and New Orleans. Additionally Rob has worked on educational facilities and provided community development facilitation through the SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) Methodology, deeply connected to social equity and local grassroots organizing.

Transitioning into teaching in higher education back in 2009, Rob has adapted his Design and Systems Thinking skills to a “forever educator” helping anyone see the holistic and interdependent links all around us. This is demonstrated by his passion for cities, sociology and the built environment as he considers Christopher Alexander’s Pattern #18 “Network of Learning” to be extremely important for the 21st Century classroom. The physical and social network that exists in one’s life can be a learning opportunity aiding in personal inspiration and creative expression. He believes this framework is important as a process to address future unknowns.


Rob has continued to practice in Lifelong Learning focusing on the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning and the 6 P’s of Project Management in STEAM/STEM. With a combined 6+ years of teaching college and high school vocational education at HACC, Rob has been dedicated to service based learning through community projects. He sees this as a win-win as it allows students to fuse academic theory with practical everyday problems, while providing for non-profit organization needs. This carried into his time as the Teen Expression Center-Harrisburg (TECH) Coordinator at the Neighborhood Center in 2013 and a Senior Maker Fellow at the Foundry Makerspace in 2016. Both positions allowed for a fluid adaptation of his own 4Cs skills. Operating in communication and collaboration, he facilitated both large and small groups allowing the learning process to blossom, no matter the topic.

A maker at heart, his belief of, hands on, unstructured learning through self discovery, is one key in unlocking one’s curiosity. Rob believes that our life journey contains periods where our passions, curiosities, and creativity lie dormant because of external circumstances; either through childhood, education, or in our working lives as adults. This becomes a daily practice of identification so one may iterate themselves to an improved state while contributing back to the greater good in a Quad Bottom Line Mindset - valuing people, places, economics, and purpose.

Fun Facts and Hobbies

  • Rob loves to longboard whenever and wherever possible, even in inclement weather, to build balance and enjoy the built environment.
  • He converted a section of his neighborhood of Midtown Harrisburg in Minecraft in 2013 to better important conversations of how we shape the built environment.
  • He enjoys computer music and is part of a nonprofit organization, which links music and technology to build Design and Systems Thinking skills.