Winners of the IA Interior Architects Fifth Annual Diversity in Design Scholarship Announced

IA Interior Architects is thrilled to announce the 2022-2023 Diversity in Design Scholarship recipients. Marking its fifth year, the scholarship program was established in partnership with the IIDA Foundation to help enrich and advance the interior design profession by recognizing outstanding students that represent diverse voices and perspectives.

Open to any minority student currently enrolled in a design or architecture program, the program’s entry requirement is a 500-word essay asking students to challenge the design industry and education system to make actual institutional changes. This year, the essay topic focused on two critical issues impacting students and the design industry moving forward: Sustainability and DE&I. The students addressed the connection between these two topics and how that connection affects the exploration of solutions to build a solid foundation for the next generation. All essays were reviewed by select leadership of IA and the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees, and are juried anonymously.

“We’re excited to celebrate this 5-year milestone with such an impressive group of scholarship recipients. This year’s essays, which tackled the critical connection between sustainability and DE&I, were all thought-provoking, making the selection process rewardingly challenging,”  shares IA Co-CEOs and Presidents Tom Powers, IIDA and David Bourke. “We are fully confident that these recipients, all who have unique aspirations related to how meaningful design is and should be to our everyday lives, will significantly impact our profession.”

“Across our industry, it’s crucial to continue addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion from education into leadership,” said IIDA Foundation Chair Tara Headley, IIDA. “We’re honored to work with partners like IA who are dedicated to these fundamental issues and ready to support young minds as they drive us all towards a better industry.”

This year’s six recipients are:

Bella Oliver, who studies Environmental Design at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, was awarded this year’s first-place scholarship of $5,000 for their essay, “Equity Is Sustainability.”

Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidnia Garcia, who is studying for a Master of Science in Sustainable Design, received the second-place award of $3,000 for their essay, “The Best Thing the World Has Are the Many Worlds the World Has.”

There were four additional $500 scholarship awards granted for essays that received honorable mentions; the recipients include Aliyah Murph, studying Architecture at the University of Cincinnati, for their essay, “Diverse Perspectives and Sustainability in Design”; Shurouq Aljammal, studying for a Master of Interior Design at the New York School of Interior Design, for their essay “Equity Increases Perspective Through Lived Experience”; Calvin Ma, studying for a Master in Interior Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona/UCLA Extension, for their essay, “Setting the Stage”; and Susan Hsin, studying Interior Architecture and Design at Colorado State University, for their essay, “The Importance of Place-Based Sustainability and Community Building.”

All IA Diversity in Design Scholarship recipients will be featured in the IIDA newsletters “Design Matters” and “QUAD,” and at the IIDA Annual Meeting hosted in Chicago in June. Winning essays are available in full on

As part of the recognition, scholarship recipients will be invited to a celebration 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 this Spring. For more information about the IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship, please contact [email protected].


About IA Interior Architects:

The largest architectural firm in the world focused on interiors, IA’s goal has always been to improve  lives through visionary design and innovation. Since 1984, we have been translating client goals, brand, and culture into environments built around people, processes, technologies, and business drivers. As architects, designers, strategists, technologists, and environmental specialists, we align business strategies and core values with the dynamic use of space. We are employee owned, and our professionals are highly invested in the firm and clients. Through our integrated services, we work alongside our clients to resolve complex issues and design innovative, user-centric environments where people thrive.

For more information, visit


About IIDA

IIDA is the commercial interior design association with global reach. We support design professionals, industry affiliates, educators, students, firms, and their clients through our network of 15,000+ members across 58 countries. We advocate for advancements in education, design excellence, legislation, leadership, accreditation, and community outreach to increase the value and understanding of interior design as a profession that enhances business value and positively impacts the health and well-being of people’s lives every day.

For more information, visit