The IIDA Foundation and IA Interior Architects (IA) announced the 2024 recipients of the IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship supporting and elevating students that represent diverse voices and perspectives in interior design.

“It is imperative to continue the discussion of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all levels of the interior design industry,” said IIDA Foundation Chair Gilbert Broco, IIDA“With the help of partners like IA, we are able to give support and hear from young minds on these fundamental issues to ensure a better future for all.”

The scholarship fund was established as part of a five-year partnership between the IIDA Foundation and IA to enrich and advance the interior design profession by recognizing outstanding students.

To apply, students who enrolled in a design or architecture program are tasked with writing a 500-word essay challenging the design industry and education system to make actual change. This year, the essays focused on two critical issues impacting students and the design industry moving forward: AI and EDI. The students addressed their perspective on AI and how it impacts EDI efforts across the industry, as well as how to navigate AI's inherent bias and its impact on the future of design. All essays were reviewed by select leadership of the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees and IA. All entries are juried anonymously.

Sophia Vinasco, Student IIDA, who studies Interior Design at Louisiana State University, was awarded this year’s first-place scholarship of $5,000 for their essay, “AI in Design, from a Minority Standpoint.”

George Washington University’s Joe Beal, Student IIDA, who is studying for a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture, received the second-place award of $3,000 for their essay, “Diversity Can Be Designed into AI.”

There were four additional $500 scholarship awards granted for essays that received honorable mentions; the recipients include Suwade Pe Than, studying for a Bachelors in Fine Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design, for their essay, “The Good, The Bad and The Unknown: An Ode to Humanity and Innovation”; Juliana Ferguson, studying Interior Architecture and Design Marketing, at University of Arkansas, for their essay “AI's Impact on Design: Navigating Challenges and Embracing Opportunities”; Joseph Olivieri, Student IIDA, studying for a Bachelors in Fine Arts and Interior Design at New York Institute of Technology, for their essay, “The Decommercialization of AI”; and BryAnna Lewis, Student IIDA, studying for a Bachelor of Science in Family Consumer Science, for their essay, “Reimagining the Impossible.”

All IA Diversity in Design Scholarship recipients will be featured in the IIDA newsletter “Design Matters” and “QUAD” as well as celebrated during Meeting Us On Monday: IIDA’s Celebration on The Stairs hosted at theMART during NeoCon on June 10. The recipients will additionally be promoted to IIDA’s 400,000+ social media followers and on, where the complete winning essays are available.

As part of the recognition, scholarship recipients will be included in a celebration this summer 2024 with IA’s leadership team, where they can engage in dialogue directly with practicing designers and architects. Details on the festivities will be announced later in the spring.

For more information about the IA Diversity in Design Scholarship, contact