SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading integrated design firms, has named the recipients of the 2020 SmithGroup Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Scholarships. This program was established in 2018 to support and mentor students from historically underrepresented demographics in architecture, interior design, planning, landscape architecture and engineering. The program’s mission is to provide these students with the opportunity to attain their professional goals while advancing the architecture/ engineering/construction (AEC) industry and improving the built environment.
A diverse group of colleges and universities, as well as professional organizations and their collegiate affiliates, were contacted to solicit candidates for this program. The National Society of Black Engineers, National Organization of Minority Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects and Society of Hispanic Engineers all provided valuable assistance in communicating the availability of these scholarships. Over 150 applications were received and evaluated by the firm’s selection committee, which consisted of design and engineering professionals from underrepresented populations.
Each scholarship recipient will receive a one-time award of $6,000 to offset their tuition costs. In previous years, the EDI scholarship recipients have been offered a paid summer internship opportunity in one of SmithGroup’s U.S. offices. Due to COVID-19, recipients will now be engaged in the firm’s offices once they can safely re-open. This may include attending office events and meetings, a paid fall or spring break internship or a paid internship throughout the school year.
The 2020 scholarship recipients:
- Chloe Crusan is a rising senior at University of Notre Dame, majoring in electrical engineering.
- Makayla Davis is entering her senior year at The Ohio State University where she’s pursuing a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture with a minor in African American and African studies.
- Uriel Figueroa is pursuing a Master of Architectural Engineering degree at Lawrence Technological University.
- Anjelica Gallegos is a student at Yale University where she is pursuing a Master of Architecture degree.
- Thabang Nyondo is pursuing a Master of Architecture and Health degree at Clemson University.
Rosa Sheng, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, the firm’s director of equity, diversity and inclusion, was encouraged by the outstanding credentials of the scholarship candidates. “We are thrilled with the increased interest and engagement of students who apply for the EDI scholarships. We’re disappointed that we won’t have these students working side by side with us this summer, but we look forward to finding other opportunities to mentor these future leaders,” Sheng said.
The EDI Scholarship Program is part of a broader firm strategy focused on equity, diversity and inclusion. In recent weeks, the firm has strengthened its commitment to take action to promote justice and equity at SmithGroup and in the built environment. “We know that we must increase our focus on building the future talent pipeline and find more ways to support underrepresented populations in our professions,” says SmithGroup Managing Partner, Troy Thompson, AIA, LEED AP. “This scholarship program is just one example of our commitment to break through barriers and it’s having an impact. Three previous scholarship winners have joined our firm following graduation and we look forward to adding to that number in the future.”