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

IA Interior Architects is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2021-2022 Diversity in Design Scholarship. This program, now in its fourth year, was established in coordination with the IIDA Foundation as a five-year partnership to enrich and evolve the interior design profession by recognizing outstanding students.

Open to any minority student currently enrolled in a design or architecture program, the entry requirement was a 500 word essay that asked students to challenge the design industry and education system to make actual change. The essays addressed actionable steps that universities and design firms can take to become more equitable places, as well as to highlight what changes will have the biggest impact on minority students looking to enter the field. All essays were reviewed by select leadership of the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees, IA, and are juried anonymously.

“The goal of this scholarship program has always been to drive innovation and inclusion by incorporating varying experiences, voices, and ideas. For the essay topic this year, we really wanted the students challenge our industry and the related educational systems on how we can make actionable steps to that goal,”  shares IA Co-CEOs and Presidents Tom Powers, IIDA and David Bourke. “The submissions this year were, as always, extremely inspiring. We both offer  hearty congratulations to the winners, whose essays and ideas rose to the top of a very impressive bunch. We look forward to seeing what remarkable accomplishments they will achieve in our field.

“Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical for creating change and shaping the future of design,” said IIDA Foundation Chair Tara Headley, IIDA. “By providing this opportunity, students can participate in these defining conversations early on and bring greater awareness to the power of representation.”

This year’s six winners are:

Farhath Ahmed, Student IIDA, of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) was awarded this year’s first-place scholarship of $5,000 for their essay, “Diversity from the Top.”

California State University Long Beach’s (Long Beach, California) Nadiri Wilson, Student IIDA, received the second-place award of $3,000 for their essay, “2022 IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship.”

There were four additional $500 scholarship awards granted for essays that received honorable mentions; the recipients include Tiffany Hayes of Marymount University (Arlington, Virginia) for their essay “Diversity in Design”; Shandiin Lake, Student IIDA of Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Arizona) for their essay “Diversity and Inclusion within Design”; Sayidmurad Sayfullaev of Parsons School of Design (New York City) for their essay “New Soil, Deconstruction for Tomorrow”; and Nilojan Jegatheeswaran of University of Waterloo, School of Architecture (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) for their essay “A Part of the Canon.”

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

For more information about the IA Diversity in Design Scholarship, please contact [email protected].

As part of the recognition, scholarship recipients will be invited to a virtual celebration this summer with IA’s leadership team, where they can engage in dialogue directly with practicing designers and architects through a roundtable and Q&A. Details on the festivities will be announced in May. 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