SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading integrated design firms, has named the recipients of the 2023 SmithGroup Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Scholarships. The annual scholarship program was established to foster a more diverse and inclusive design industry by investing in the next generation of design talent. Since its inception in 2018, the program has awarded $180,000 to 30 recipients across the United States.

The five students selected to receive 2023 J.E.D.I. scholarships are:

  • Lauryn Cameron is an undergraduate student studying interior design at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Cameron will be an intern with the Madison and Milwaukee offices. 
  • Juliana Cardozo Chamorro is a graduate student studying landscape architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology. Cardozo Chamorro will be an intern with the Chicago office. 
  • Sara Dancy is an undergraduate student studying civil engineering at Michigan Technological University. Dancy will be an intern with the Ann Arbor office. 
  • Vanessa Giraldo is a graduate student studying architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Giraldo will be an intern with the San Francisco office. 
  • Bria Miller is a graduate student studying architecture at Howard University. Miller will be an intern with the Washington, DC office.

“We are excited to welcome these talented emerging designers and engineers into our offices this summer; building strong relationships to exchange perspectives, experiences and unique skills as the foundation for their careers,” says Rosa Sheng, SmithGroup’s director of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. “Our J.E.D.I. Scholarship program offers recipients the opportunity to access real-world work experience and cultivate beneficial mentoring relationships with a range of professionals, while receiving financial support to continue in their academic programs.”

SmithGroup’s J.E.D.I. scholarship program is designed to support students from historically underrepresented demographics studying architecture, interior design, planning, landscape architecture or engineering. Each scholarship recipient receives a one-time award of $6,000 to offset tuition costs, as well as a paid summer internship with one of SmithGroup’s U.S. offices.

“We are committed to creating a more just and equitable future for the design industry by investing in programs like our J.E.D.I. Scholarship that are cultivating a more diverse and inclusive talent pipeline,” says Troy Thompson, a managing partner for the firm. “Programs like ours are essential for dismantling systems that perpetuate injustice in the built environment. Six years in, we’re pleased that this program has helped to launch the professional careers of thirty recipients so far.”

Candidates were solicited through outreach to a wide list of colleges and universities with eligible academic programs, via the firm’s social media platforms, and through professional organizations’ collegiate chapters such as The National Society of Black Engineers, National Organization of Minority Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects and Society of Hispanic Engineers. Applications were evaluated by a selection committee comprised of SmithGroup design and engineering professionals from underrepresented populations.