Back to top

Career Exploration Zoom Series: Architect, Author, Shaman

Printer-friendly version
Event date/time: 
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event Type: 

The career Zoom sessions will take place every other week.  You do not have to be an enrolled 4-H member or volunteer to attend.

Check the 4-H Events webpage for information on upcoming speakers, or read the weekly 4-H Newsblast that is sent to all registered members and volunteers.

To obtain the Zoom link, contact Angelica Paredes at with: session date, youth name, club/school, County.

Please add the state you live in if outside of Massachusetts!


The February 3 session with be hosted by Mushroom Montoya, who is an architect, author and shaman.

Mushroom Montoya is an example that not all careers follow a linear path. After high school, he spoke to a guidance counselor at a local university that informed him there were only three colleges in California (at that time) that offered an architecture program. The guidance counselor sent him to speak with the chair of the civil engineering department; civil engineers and architects work closely together. There he received a long list of math and engineering courses he should take. He was disappointed because he didn’t like math, and as a result, he changed his mind. He changed his major to English, started taking classes, including his first ever art class. He fell in love with art and changed his major. 

Mushroom was soon drafted into the Viet Nam war, serving two tours.  Upon his return he completed his associate degree in art and transferred to the architecture school at the University of New Mexico.  Part of that choice was because that University was the only one at the time with courses in solar energy. He spent the next 30 years as an architect. Some of his projects as an architect include: The largest sleep study center for the Veterans Medical Center in Long Beach, the first hangar for the B1 Bomber, office buildings, dining facilities, childcare centers, numerous office remodels, an FBI photo lab, courtrooms, jails, secret places, medical facilities and more. 

Buildings were not the only things Mushroom was creating. He took his experiences in Viet Nam and wrote his first book, “Viet Nam Body Count”, fictionalizing the book but relying on firsthand knowledge. His second book, “Koln Letters” is a mystery novel that answers the historical question, “Why did the Roman Emperor, Nero, blame the Christians for the fire in Rome?” The novel takes place in Koln and Bonn, Germany, A monastery in France, and in Seattle, Washington. 

As a Shaman, Mushroom witnessed so much destruction during his time in Viet Nam, he decided he also wanted to be a person who heals. As a bereaved father he advocates for organ donation. As an adoptive parent, he advocates for adoption, especially of older children who all too often don’t get adopted.



Contact's name: 
Angelica Paredes
Contact's email: 
This event will be recorded: