Inaugural Diversity in Design Scholarship Winners Announced

IA Interior Architects is excited to announce that the winners of the IIDA Foundation’s IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship have been selected. This inaugural scholarship program was established to recognize that promoting diversity in design is paramount in making the industry a more inclusive and innovative place. As the IIDA Foundation’s primary mission is to advance the interior design profession through education, research, and knowledge, the five-year partnership is an exciting opportunity to enrich the industry by recognizing outstanding students.

“As the largest global architectural firm practicing interior design, we value and embrace the power of diversity; our design solutions become more impactful when we consider not only the diversity of the team creating a space but also its occupants and users. We are excited to be partnering with the IIDA Foundation on a  scholarship program that fosters these ideals. It was extremely encouraging to see all of the entries from around the country, and we offer our hearty congratulations to the winners, whose essays we found engaging,” shares Tom Powers and David Bourke, IA’s co-CEOs/Presidents.

The two winners and four honorable mentions were selected by a review committee that included members from IA’s leadership and the IIDA Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The scholarship program was open to all students currently enrolled in a design or architecture program; entry requirements were a 500-word essay that expresses the applicants’ point of view on the world of design through different lenses and how diversity and innovation are interrelated. Each year for the duration of the partnership, six students will be awarded scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000.

This year’s first place winner is Daniel Twum, of Savannah College of Art and Design. Daniel will be awarded $5000; his essay, which you can read here, is called “Design a new Dawn.” The second place winner is Kelia Todd of Ohio State University, with her essay “Representation Matters,” which you can read here. The four honorable mention winners will each receive a $500 scholarship:

  • Noor AlHelew, Student IIDA, of San Jose State University “Fish by Design”
  • Alanna Frierson, Student IIDA, of Florida State University, “Diversity in Design: A mixed Girl’s Perspective"
  • Samriddhi Kasliwal of Fashion Institute of Technology“8,413 Mile[s] of Difference”
  • Vanessa Murray, Student IIDA, of Athens Technical College “Road Trips, Violin and AutoCAD”


“We must actively embrace, accurately represent, and enthusiastically amplify the voices and ideas of design professionals with diverse backgrounds and identities to ensure the industry remains inclusive, well-rounded, and authentic,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “The creative, enlightened points of view demonstrated in our first group of submissions are a true testament to the power and perspective the future leaders of our industry hold.”

All IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship Fund recipients will be featured in the Design Matters and Quad newsletters; winning essays are available on the IIDA website.

Founded in 1984, IA Interior Architects is the first and largest global architectural firm focused exclusively on interior architecture and workplace strategies. IA helps clients in diverse markets worldwide align their business strategies and core values with the dynamic use of space. IA has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orange County, Philadelphia, Portland, Raleigh, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Toronto, and Washington, DC and has partner affiliates in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and Australia, Canada, and Latin America through the IA Global Alliance. For more information, visit

The IIDA Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 philanthropic organization whose mission is to advance interior design through education, research, and knowledge to benefit IIDA and the interior design profession. The Foundation works in collaboration with IIDA to support the strategic plan of the Association, which includes design professionals, industry affiliates, educators, students, firms, and their clients through a network of 15,000+ members across 58 countries. Learn more at