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2021 List of Scholarships and Career Resources for Underrepresented Students

In our pursuit of a more equitable profession, we are providing a list of resources for prospective students of color. It is our hope that the list of resources below will help students of color who aspire to become architects find networks and opportunities that help them to achieve their goals.

The following list is not all-inclusive, so if you would like for us to add others, please do not hesitate to contact us to add them.

 

Fellowships and Scholarships

 

American Indian Science and Engineering Society Scholarships

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) helps students move forward in their educational journeys by providing a wide range of programs and scholarship opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Indigenous peoples of Canada. To apply, you must be an AISES member.

Deadline to Apply:  Varies by Scholarship

AIA Chicago Foundation Diversity Scholarship

AIA Chicago Foundation Diversity Scholarship Initiative, managed by the AIA Chicago Foundation, is an opportunity to attract and retain diverse, talented young professionals in Chicago and recognizes the value of new and unique voices in the profession. One $10,000 graduate scholarship and one $10,000 undergraduate scholarship is awarded each year.

Applications accepted beginning January 13 – April 9, 2021

American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)

AIAS has a great list of scholarships and fellowship opportunities for students.

Deadline to Apply:  Varies by Scholarship

American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Worldstudio Scholarships

AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships benefit minority and economically disadvantaged students who are studying photography, illustration, and design disciplines in colleges and universities in the United States. Scholarships are awarded annually to encourage social and environmental responsibility and cultural awareness in the next generation of artists and designers.

Deadline to Apply:  Varies by Scholarship

American Planning Association Scholarship

Open to women, people of color and indigenous descent, veterans, disabled persons, and members of the LGBTQ community who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate Planning Accreditation Board (PAB)-approved programs. Applicants must be APA members; membership for students is free.

This scholarship is awarded annually to students intending to pursue careers as practicing planners who will diversify the profession and who are able to demonstrate a genuine financial need.

Deadline to Apply: To Be Announced for 2021

American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects Scholarship Program

ASIE, a Houston, Texas-based nonprofit organization, established their scholarship program in 1998. ASIE awards financial aid to students of Indian descent who live in the Houston area or have a parent or grandparent who is a member of ASIE. The amount and number of annual scholarships awarded depend on donations from contributors as well as sponsors. Recipients in 2016 received up to $1,000 each.

Deadline to Apply: To Be Announced for 2021

Asian American Architects/Engineers Foundation Awards

The Asian American Architects/Engineers Association (AAa/e) (www.aaaesc.org) is committed to the empowerment of design professionals in personal growth, professional excellence, business development, and leadership in our communities. The Asian American Architects and Engineers Foundation (AAa/e Foundation) was created in 2004 as a branch of the AAa/e to better support the efforts of the AAa/e in seeking additional means of fundraising for scholarships. The AAa/e Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities and scholarships for students and other individuals in the profession of architecture, engineering or construction.Applicants must be members of the AAa/e Association.

Deadline to Apply: May 28, 2021

Architects Foundation – The Diversity ADvancement Scholarship

This scholarship—$4,000 per year and up to $20,000 total—supports undergraduate minority students who are entering, enrolled in, or transferring into a NAAB-accredited undergraduate architecture program. Scholarships may be renewed every year until your degree is completed, for up to 5 years.

We’re looking for minority students whose imagination and design thinking will influence the future of the architecture profession and the built environment.

Applications for the 2022 awards will open in November 2021.

Association for Women in Architecture Scholarship

The Association for Women in Architecture Foundation offers annual cash awards to women students studying Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban and/or Land Planning, Interior Design or Environmental Design leading to a college degree.

Applicants must be residents of California or attending a California school, and must be enrolled in one of the qualifying majors for the current school term. Applicants must have completed a minimum of 18 units in their major by the application due date.

Deadline to Apply: April 25, 2021

CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship was established to provide financial assistance to African-American or Black students who are pursuing a degree in the visual arts. 

This award is for full time African-American or Black students pursuing a degree in visual arts including, but not limited to, architecture, ceramics, drawing, fashion, graphic design, illustration, interior design, painting, photography, sketching, video production and other decorative arts.

Deadline to Apply: April 30, 2021

CINTAS Foundation Fellowship in Architecture & Design

Candidates in the fields of architectural design, interior design, urban design and urban planning may submit applications for the CINTAS Foundation Fellowship in Architecture. For the purpose of historical value and documentation, architectural award recipients are encouraged to submit architectural drawings (i.e., representative samples of their work) to be added to the CINTAS Fellows Collection after the grant period. To be eligible, applicants must have either Cuban citizenship or direct lineage. 

Eligibility for this fellowship: Creative artists of Cuban citizenship or direct lineage (having a Cuban parent or grandparent). Applicants engaged in research, students, or performing artists are not eligible to apply for CINTAS Fellowships. 

Deadline to Apply: May 1, 2021

Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program

The Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program is open to underrepresented, low-income and first-generation college-bound students. Students must be pursuing an undergraduate degree full-time in transportation, math, science, engineering, architecture, environmental design, PreMed, psychology, Spanish language/literature. The applicant does not have to be a U.S. citizen but must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and proof of attending college beginning in the fall semester. Recommendation by a faculty member is optional but highly suggested.

Deadline to Apply: March 14, 2021

Gensler Diversity Scholarship

Gensler offers two U.S. scholarships annually, including the Diversity Scholarship, which awards African-American students enrolled in a U.S. not-for-profit educational institution beginning their final year of a NAAB-accredited architecture program. Recipients will win academic scholarships as well as summer internship opportunities.

The Scholarships open in October and close in January of the following year.

HEEF Architecture and Engineering Scholarship

The Orange County (OC) Hispanic Educational Endowment Fund (HEEF) serves US Citizens, Permanent Residents and Dream Act/ AB 540 students who live in Orange County, California only. HEEF offers competitive academic scholarships for OC high school and community college transfers who qualify for need based financial aid and who enroll at a 4-year college or university.

This scholarship is open to Orange County-based Latino/a high school students who have been accepted or are returning to an accredited post secondary educational program majoring in architecture or engineering and who have a minimum 3.0 GPA. 

Deadline to Apply: The Scholarships Application is open from October through December each year.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

The HSF Scholarship is offered to students by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Founded in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund was created in order to empower Latino families with the information and resources that they need in order to earn a higher education. The HSF Scholarship does not require students to choose a particular major or graduate field to be eligible for the money, however, it does place emphasis on STEM majors.

Deadline to Apply:  Varies by Scholarship

Houzz Scholarship Program

Houzz offers four different architecture scholarships—Women in Architecture, Residential Design, Sustainable Residential Design, and Residential Construction Management—each for $2,500. Scholarships are open to current undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in interior design, architecture, landscape architecture, architectural engineering, or construction management programs.

Deadline to Apply: March 31, 2021

 IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship

In partnership with the IIDA Foundation, the IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship seeks to recognize that creating a diverse design community is paramount in making the world of design a more inclusive and innovative place. This scholarship is open to graduate and undergraduate students worldwide. There will be one $5,000 scholarship, one $3,000 scholarship and four $500 scholarships awarded.

Deadline to Apply: To Be Announced

John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship

The John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship Fund was created to benefit and further the study of interior design and architecture by students of African American descent. The scholarship fund is administered through the IIDA Foundation.

Deadline to Apply: To Be Announced

Landscape Architecture Foundation EDSA Minority Scholarship

The EDSA Minority Scholarship was established to help African American, Hispanic, Native American and minority students of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds continue their landscape architecture education. Eligible candidates are in their final two years of undergraduate study or pursuing a graduate degree in landscape architecture. Recipients are awarded $5,000.

Deadline to Apply: February 1, 2021

Mildred Colodny Diversity Scholarship

The Mildred Colodny Diversity Scholarship program provides financial assistance and experiential learning opportunities to individuals preparing for careers in historic preservation.  The purpose of the Colodny Scholarship is to increase the diversity of people pursuing degrees and careers in historic preservation in the United States.  The National Trust is seeking culturally diverse applicants whose commitment to historic preservation will be strengthened by obtaining a graduate degree in preservation, who will benefit from the internship and mentorship opportunities provided by the Trust, and who ultimately will contribute valuable, diverse perspectives to — and become leaders in — the field of preservation.

The National Trust defines diversity as inclusive, embracing people of all races, creeds, genders, ages, sexual orientations, religions, physical characteristics and abilities, veteran status, and economic or social backgrounds.  It also encompasses historic places, communities and geographical areas that represent the full range of unique characteristics, experiences, and cultures.

Awarded up to $15,000 towards graduate school tuition; a paid summer internship with the National Trust following the student’s first year of study; and support of the student’s attendance at a National Preservation Conference or other National Trust training opportunity. One scholarship package per year will be awarded.

Deadline to Apply: February 28, 2021.

National Action Council for Minority Engineers Scholarships

To be eligible to be named for any of the NACME administered scholarships students must either be a high school senior applying to an engineering or computer science program at a NACME Partner Institution, or be currently matriculating in an engineering or computer science program at a NACME Partner Institution, a US citizen or permanent resident, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. NACME’s mission is to increase representation of Black/African American, Latinx/Hispanic-American and Native/American Indian in the fields of engineering and computer science.

Deadline to Apply:  Varies by Scholarship

National Park Service and Hispanic Access Foundation- Community Planning or Landscape Architecture Fellowship

The New Mexico National Park Service (NPS) Community Planning/Landscape Architect Fellowship is a unique opportunity for an exemplary Latino master’s graduate student or recent graduate.  The Fellowship is designed to provide practical experience with diverse communities that we serve including Native American and Latino. 

Deadline to Apply:  Varies by Year

National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Diversity Scholarship Program

This program helps members of underrepresented communities attend the National Trust’s annual conference, PastForward. Participants receive financial assistance, including complimentary registration and lodging at PastForward.

Deadline to Apply:  Varies by Scholarship

OHA Native Hawaiian Scholarships

The UH-OHA Hoʻonaʻauao Higher Education Scholarship Program helps fund tuition and fees for Native Hawaiian students pursuing an undergraduate degree or vocational education certificate at any of the 10 campuses within the University of Hawaiʻi System. The program will provide scholarship recipients with advising and mentoring, professional and leadership development, and cultural-based workshops.

Deadline to Apply: March 1, 2021

Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship

The partners at Payette established this annual memorial scholarship to honor their friend, colleague and fellow partner, Sho-Ping Chin FAIA. This scholarship fund, developed in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects Foundation, will award a scholarship of $10,000 each year to a woman for the study of architecture.

Eligibility to third- and fourth-year women architecture students in a NAAB- accredited undergraduate degree program, as well as women in any level of graduate study in a NAAB-accredited program. 

Deadline to Apply:  Varies by Year

PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship

The Cesar Chavez Foundation, in partnership with PepsiCo, invites students of Latino descent who are beginning or continuing their studies at higher educational institutions in Arizona and California’s Central Valley, to apply for the PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Fund provides $300,000 in scholarship awards to qualified Latino students in Arizona and California regardless of national origin or immigration status in an effort to promote their academic success. 

Deadline to Apply: To Be Announced

SmithGroup Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Scholarship Program

We have created the SmithGroup Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Scholarship Program 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.

Deadline to Apply: October 30, 2020

Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Scholarship

Architecture firm ZGF, based in Portland, Oregon, awards a scholarship to one student in his or her final year at the graduate or undergraduate level in an NAAB-accredited architecture program. A summer internship with the firm is also offered to the scholarship recipient.

Deadline to Apply: February 1, 2021

 

Networks and Organizations

400 FORWARD

Launched in 2017 when the 400th living African American woman achieved licensure, 400 Forward aims to boost the next generation of African American women architects—who currently make up only 0.2 percent of all licensed architects—through exposure to architecture, mentorship, and financial assistance

ArchiteXX

A non-profit organization for Gender Equity in architecture transforming the profession by bridging the academy and practice. We are a Cross-Generational group of academics and practitioners, and our organization is dedicated to the advancement of all women-identified, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and allied individuals.

Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.

The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) is an advocacy group committed to changing the culture of the building industry for women working in architecture, landscape, engineering and construction—market sectors where only about 17 percent of the leaders are women. Founded in 2002 by Willis, a pioneering woman in the field, the New York-based nonprofit advances the recognition of women’s contributions to architecture through grants and research and supports current professionals and students through educational and social initiatives.

Black Females in Architecture

Black Females in Architecture (BFA) is a network and enterprise founded to increase the visibility of black and black mixed heritage females within architectural industry and other built environment fields. In so doing, BFA actively addresses issues of inequality and diversity within the industry

BFA supports its growing membership through the provision of a support network within which members benefit from shared knowledge, advice, guidance, access to the personal networks of fellow members, job opportunities and much more.

Black Interior Designers Network

The Black Interior Designers Network’s mission is to promote diversity and inclusion within the interior design industry by highlighting designers of color and supporting black designers with business development opportunities and resources to help Black designers thrive.

Female Design Council

With the mission of establishing a strong support network for female and female-identifying design professionals—through events, exhibitions, discussions, programming, business development opportunities, and community outreach with industry partners.

National Organization of Minority Architects

Founded in 1971 by 12 African-American architects, who met at the national AIA Convention in Detroit that year and recognized the need to help foster the development of minority architects, NOMA showcases the work of Black architects through its publications and conferences. This national group relies on the strength of its local chapters for advocacy, community outreach, and professional development.

Organization of Black Designers

The Organization of Black Designers is a national professional organization of interior, industrial/product, architectural, fashion, UX, UI and graphic designers dedicated to promoting the visibility, empowerment, education and interaction of its membership and the understanding and value that diverse design perspectives contribute to world culture and commerce.

The Designer’s Workshop

Associate interior designer at Rockwell Group Kamille Glenn founded the Designer’s Workshop as a collective to unite people of color in any 3D-design disciplines, including architecture and design, and to shine a light on this underrepresented population through connectivity and collaboration.

 

Resources 

Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Resources for African American Students

This resource is for African American Students, and it details information about different types of financial assistance available to African American students, including historically Black university scholarships, field-specific scholarships, and scholarships for women.

College Scholarships For Minorities

Student-Specific Scholarships support individual groups of college students like women and minorities.

 


Contact us at info@acsa-arch.org to add your Scholarship, Organization or Resource for Underrepresented students to this page. 

NOMA LA: Project Pipeline Summer Camp

Summer 2020 has been a unique experience, to say the least. Summer architecture programs, as they once were, have been forced to pivot quickly and plan for a completely virtual experience or cancel altogether. Although COVID-19 has drastically shaped the experience of many summer programs across the country, we did not want to let that stop us from sharing about a few of them. Earlier this fall, we sat down with the Louisiana Project Pipeline Program Coordinator, Bryan Bradshaw, to get his perspective on what makes the camp he coordinates so unique. He started by telling us the origin story of Project Pipeline, before walking us through its transformation under his leadership.

The Project Pipeline Summer Camp is part of a broader community-focused program called Project Pipeline, “a mentorship program established by National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) in 2002 designed to encourage equality within the profession and provide an introduction to young students interested in the world of architecture and design.” The program currently consists of a “summer camp and a workshop series throughout the year, all within the framework of achieving a sustained mentorship program.” The Summer Camp gives rising 8th through 12th graders the opportunity to work with local architects, designers, and community professionals to design a building or block for their community. With a focus on social justice, design justice, urban planning, and architecture, this camp seeks to “empower young people to affect change in their community through design using the city as a classroom.” 

One mentor had this to say about Project Pipeline mentoring program: 

[It] teaches a democratized practice of community-based design in the tradition of the earliest Black architects at Tuskegee and the activist designers of ARCH, the Architects’ Renewal Committee in Harlem. We teach our students that design is political. We build neighborhoods and cities collectively, pushing back against the individualistic culture of ‘starchitecture’ that helps to perpetuate White and male domination in our profession. 

In NOMA Louisiana Project Pipeline, and in other programs around the United States, we teach that merely changing who is represented in positions of power is not enough to transform our built environment. We are changing how we practice. My fellow mentors are not just Black and other people of color; they’re architects, designers, and planners who actively seek to create a more just and equitable world through their work. The students and mentors I’ve met through Project Pipeline have become my mentors, employers, employees, and best friends. They’re the people I learn from and the people I cite; an ever-expanding community seeking justice in, and through, the built environment. Project Pipeline has the power to transform the design professions at every level, for everyone. The state of the world reminds me daily why it’s necessary that we do so.

-Chris Daemmrich, a Project Pipeline Mentor

Responding to the global pandemic, Bradshaw and his team pivoted to host a completely virtual, weeklong camp that drew students from New Orleans and as far as the Carolinas. Students outside of New Orleans were shipped the materials backpack (see image below), while the locals got to meet their mentors from a distance when they came to drop the backpack off on the students’ doorsteps. The camp attendees each received model-making materials, legos, pens and paper, and a workbook guide for the week in the backpacks. The week was filled with daily one-on-one zoom calls with mentors, along with critiques and model-making, concluding with a presentation to peers and mentors. After completion of the camp, they also received a NOMA Louisiana mask, camp certificate and copy of three books: Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism, African American Architects: Embracing Culture and Building Urban Communities, and Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity.

Bradshaw and his team assemble material packets for the virtual camp.

Backpacks packed with model-making materials, legos, pens and paper, architecture magazines, and a workbook guide for the week.

 

Typically, the camp focuses on a collective neighborhood that is created by the students’ response to functional needs in their build environment; though the virtual format afforded a new opportunity to have the students think more in-depth about their personal communities. The students were asked to design an ideal “city block” in their area and make a list of functional needs that would specifically enhance the quality of life for their neighbors. The students were then given a prompt to design the space of one of the functional needs on the block. 

Virtual presentation on the assignment made by Bradshaw and his team.

Mentor teams review design ideas and teach about design representation through plan, section, and elevations using Legos.

When the camp was held in person, the students were challenged to design a proposal for a city block, then pass it to another team and that team was allowed to make changes, but only after consulting the original design team. This challenge built communication skills and helped the students better understand their own design decisions and the decisions of others.  

Students partner and collaborate to design a city block.

After they have each completed one round of design iteration, the board is passed to the next team and discussions begin about design changes desired by the next team. Students explain their design intentions to the next team upon which they will build and add their own ideas.

 

Students present their ideas to their mentors.

To better understand the impact that this camp is having on not only the students but the mentors as well, we asked for a few participants to share their experiences. 

Keren Zempoalteca, High School Senior and First-Year Camp Attendee:

During the week, I learned so much stuff and details I didn’t even know architects have to take into consideration when starting a project, like, the community and their needs, and that amazed me. When doing the projects, I was surprised that they made such an effort to send bags with some materials we would be needing during the week. All the leaders were really involved with every student’s ideas and gave incredible feedback. Even though it was my first and last year in the camp, I feel thankful I experienced this, as it clarified my desire to continue pursuing this major. 

Josephine (Josie) Messina, High School Sophomore and 2nd Year Camp Attendee: 

The 2020 NOMA Louisiana Project Pipeline Camp was a very exciting program that I went to this summer. I had gone to it last summer when it was in person and made many connections with the mentors there helping us. It was a very smooth transition to the virtual format and was planned out very well. The activities that we got to do helped me learn about my community and the way architecture can help improve it. We focused on the need of the people living there and how that shapes where things are and how they function. 

Kiwana T. McClung, First Year Camp Mentor: 

As an Associate Professor and the advisor to the UL Chapter of NOMAS, I mentor several current design students. However, my lack of proximity to New Orleans made it hard for me to participate in past Project Pipeline camps. The camp being virtual this year made it easier for all, giving me a chance to connect with potential design students, while witnessing first-hand the amazing fount of talent we have in the state of Louisiana. The NOMA Louisiana cohort, as well as the campers, made it a profound experience and I am looking forward to participating again next year.

Teva Kaplan, Camp Mentor 2017-2020:

This was my third year as a mentor for Project Pipeline. One of my favorite moments each year is helping the kids explore their own neighborhood through the lens of equitable architecture. It’s so powerful to see them shift from thinking about the material as a material to realizing what that space could actually mean for their neighborhood if their design existed. It usually happens between days two and three. I think that’s the moment when kids realize their own agency and ability to create positive change in places they love. Project Pipeline gives a quick and tactile introduction to foundational architecture skills in a creative and accessible way.

It is clear that this program has fostered a space for creativity, voice, and social justice in the heart of New Orleans. To learn more about this program or find a Project Pipeline program near you, visit their website at http://nomalaprojectpipeline.org/

Each year, Study Architecture curates a full list of summer programs (virtual and in-person) from across the country and publishes it here. Check back in the spring of 2021 to see the full list. If you are curious, check out the 2019 and 2020 list. 

Scholarships and Career Resources for Students of Color

(via Curbed)

In reporting last year on the state of race and architecture, we attempted to focus on rooting out ways to help foster a more inclusive, diverse, and creative profession. Consider this resource list a tool to find and create such opportunities, and to make connections that benefit both aspiring architects and working professionals.

The programs below, from student summer camps to professional seminars, address both the pipeline problem in architecture and the historic lack of leadership roles for architects of color. This list of scholarships, mentor programs, volunteer opportunities, and professional organizations will always be a work in progress, and we’re keen to add more—so please send any noteworthy additions to curbed@curbed.com or drop suggestions in the comments.

Student groups & youth programs

Project Pipeline

Sponsored and organized by the National Organization of Minority Architects, this summer camp gives minority youth insight and experience with architecture via workshops and activities led by professional volunteers. Those interested in attending can begin registration via email; camps are currently scheduled for New Orleans, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

The ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Mentor Program

The ACE Mentor Program provides pre-college students with real-world exposure to professionals, and has demonstrated great success in preparing minority students to study and practice architecture. The program is free of charge and offers scholarships to alumni.

In addition, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the American Institute of Architecture Students both maintain exhaustive list of summer programs, many focused on high school students interested in the profession. Most programs offer some need-based scholarships and financial aid. For those considering higher education, the ACSA also hosts a Virtual Career Expo that links prospective students with university representatives.

Hip-Hop Architecture Camps

These one-week camps introduce youth to architecture, urban planning, creative place making, and economic development through the lens of hip-hop culture. Founder and instructor Mike Fordbelieves the hip-hop generation “will champion this new vernacular, and rely on our love for hip-hop coupled with our architectural knowledge, to build our communities and increase the number of minority practitioners.” Free and open to students ages 10-17 who complete the application process, the camps use hip-hop culture as an entryway to learn about S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) topics.

NAACP ACT-SO Initiative

ACT-SO—which stands for Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics—is a year-long achievement program put on by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. High school students work with mentors to develop projects in 29 competition areas, including architecture. Students can select up to three topics in which to compete. Competitions begin at a local level, with winners advancing to a national stage.