Sign In, Renew, Sign Up

Search AIA

Search AIA Go


Page Tools

CMD Insight for Architects


      Five Students selected for the AIA/AAF Minority Disadvantaged Scholarship
      Recent Scholarship program upgrades provide selected students with greater funding


      Contact:  Matt Tinder

      For immediate release:
      Washington, D.C. – August 3, 2011 –
      The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected five students to receive the AIA/AAF Minority Disadvantaged Scholarship.  Since 1970 through a joint effort with the American Architectural Foundation (AAF), the scholarship is awarded to high school graduates, college freshmen, and community college students from a minority and/or financially disadvantaged background who intend to pursue a NAAB-accredited professional degree in architecture.  The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage diversity in the architecture profession.

      In 2010, the scholarship program was transferred to AIA Legacy, Inc., and underwent several changes.  In recognizing the need for greater support and encourage a path to licensure, the scholarship program was adjusted to include fewer recipients while the funding award was increased up to $4000 and can be renewed annually up to five years.

      We were quite impressed with these five finalists for the scholarship,” shares Lee W. Waldrep, Ph.D., chair of the scholarship committee and assistant director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “They all exceeded our expectations in terms of their academic credentials to pursue architecture and all will benefit from the opportunity that the AIA/AAF Minority Disadvantaged Scholarship will provide.”

      The scholarship committee, made up of dedicated teaching professional and practitioners of the profession received over 150 applications, but was most impressed by the academic and personal achievements of the selected recipients:

      Maureen Chung – Carnegie Mellon

      Chung is ranked in the top 1 percent of her graduation class of 418 students at Blue Valley Northwest High School, earning her the title of Governor’s Scholar.  She is a member of the National Honor Society, Youth Court, and KAY club (school service club).  Chung is an accomplished violinist and pianist, volunteering her time and skill to perform for residents of a local nursing home.  She will be attending Carnegie Mellon University in the fall.  
      Semaj Blackwood – California College of the Arts

      Blackwood migrated to the United States after graduating high school at the age of 16 in his native Jamaica.  He has been enrolled at Merrit College where he is also a tutor as well as working part-time at a development services program with senior citizens with developmental challenges.  Blackwood has been an active participant in the Maxiumim Achievement Project (MAP), a federally funded program to assist with the achievement of African American male students.  He will be attending the California College of the Arts in the fall.  

      Nelson De Jesus Ubri - Parson The New School for Design  

      De Jesus Ubri graduated as valedictorian of the Pan American International High School (PAIHS) in Queens, New York and will be attending Parsons The New School for Design in the fall.  He is a member of the National Honor Society and completed an internship at Indika Entertainment Adversting, a graphic design company.  Originally from the Dominican Republic, De Jesus Ubri received the Meritorious Student Award by the president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez.  He was also recognized with "Best All-Around Student" at PAIHS.
      Zarith Pineda - Tulane University

      Pineda graduated from Arlington High School in Massachusetts where she is a member of the National Honor Society, recipient of the CAD Excellence award, as well as recipient of the Medal of Distinction all four years she attended.  A native of Colombia, Pineda, currently a college freshman at Tulane, is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.  Her passion for architecture is apparent to her first year design professor who describes Pineda’s skills as “well above average” and “exceptional”.  She has held several jobs while in high school and her first year at Tulane.  
      Sara Timberlake - University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

      Timberlake graduated near the top of her high school class while being an active member of the school band, becoming the first chair and section leader, as well as the band advisory board president.  She is a member of the National and Spanish Honor Society.  Timberlake has been involved with her local Girl Scout Troop for 13 years, where she recently earned her Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.  She was named female engineer of the year at Rich Central High school in Illinois, while also being recognized on the Gold Honor Roll for four consecutive years, as well as being the student of the year.  Timberlake will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in the fall.
      About The American Institute of Architects

      For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


Footer Navigation

Copyright & Privacy

  • © The American Institute of Architects
  • Privacy