Opportunities Available Through AIA Rochester

Join our active members in professional and community endeavors

Centennial committee

The Centennial Committee meets over lunch to discuss upcoming events

AIA Rochester is the most active chapter in our state outside of New York City.  Take a look at just some of the activities that members in the Greater Rochester area are doing to benefit the chapter, the community, and the profession.  Whether you're looking to get connected, get engaged, or get ahead, there are many opportunities available!

If you are interested in more information about any of these committees, or have ideas of your own that you would like to bring to the chapter, contact either the committee head indicated below or contact Linda Hewitt at AIA Rochester at lbhewitt@aiaroc.org.

Download the complete Opportunities Handbook here.

Get Connected:

ERA (Emerging Rochester Architects)

ERA aims to connect those who are new to the profession, and invites them to participate in sketch socials, networking events, and tours. ERA also offers support through the registration process including hosting ARE study sessions and mentorship programs.  Our young professionals have established a strong relationship with the architecture programs at RIT and Alfred and serve as mentors to these students as well.

Contact: Christiana Mehmel, Associate AIA

AIA Rochester Annual Meeting

Held in October, this luncheon is a review of all the events held by AIA Rochester in that given year.  It’s also a time to thank our members/sponsors for their support and acknowledge our volunteers.  We present the chapter’s Honor Awards and enjoy a keynote speaker.  It’s a great opportunity to network with others.  General attendance is around 100 people.  Chapter business is discussed and voting of new board members takes place.

Contact: Linda Hewitt, Executive Director

Holiday Party

Join us at our annual AIA Rochester holiday party to network and share some holiday cheer! The president hosts this annual event.

Contact: Jennifer Takatch, AIA

Get Engaged:

Explorers Program (through Boy Scouts of America)

Explorers Architecture is a program run by AIA through a larger Boy Scouts of America organization allowing high school students the opportunity to explore different careers by meeting local professionals in the field.  Our post runs two 8 week sessions per year - one in the spring the other in the fall - covering topics including technology in architecture, architecture in Rochester, a day in the office, becoming an architect (college/licensure paths), sustainability, sketching, and structures.  The program meets weekly to learn about architecture through tours, scavenger hunts, presentations, and more.  As a program we are always looking for new topics to introduce the students to and would love a fresh perspective within the field!

Contact: Blair Benson, Associate AIA

Student Scholarships

Both high school and college students have the opportunity to apply for scholarships through the AIA.  A total of $14,000 was awarded to 9 recipients in 2018.

Contact: Blair Benson, Associate AIA

ACE Mentor Program*

(*Though NOT an AIA Rochester sponsored program, many members are actively involved with this endeavor)

The ACE Mentor Program is a national organization with a Rochester chapter that aims to engage high school students in the fields of Architecture, Construction, and Engineering, through hands-on activities and weekly meetings. The program spans from September through March, during which students design and build a playhouse, participate in on-site construction activities such as forming a footing, and design a 1,500 SF house that serves as their final project. The graduation/final presentation is a chance for the students to showcase their work to members of the community, including industry professionals. Last year’s program awarded $18,000 in scholarships to participating students.

Contact: Barbara Burke, Associate AIA

Women in Architecture

The mission of Women in Architecture is to connect women, throughout their careers, for support and comradery, and to advocate for women-centric initiatives within the profession.

Contact: Laura Cooney, AIA

Girls in Architecture

The mission of Girls in Architecture is to introduce 7th and 8th grade girls to careers in architecture and engineering and the possibility of STEM options as they enter high school. Female professionals in the A/E industry can volunteer. The program will begin in the fall and consist of 4-5 sessions.

Contact: Laura Cooney, AIA

Career Fair

At the Career Fair, we have 10-15 local firms that set up booths and invite students from local colleges (Alfred, RIT, MCC, HWS, FLCC, UB and Syracuse University) to talk about internships/co-ops and open firm positions.  Prior to the event, we work with students to help them assemble their resumes and portfolios.  Attendance is approximately 60 people.

Contact: Linda Hewitt, Executive Director


CANstruction Rochester, sponsored by Buckingham Properties, is part of a national program in which A/E firms and student groups compete annually to design a themed structure entirely out of canned goods.  Past themes have included “Fantasy/Fairytale,” “Hollywood” and “Bon Appetit.” After the structures have been displayed to the public and judged, all canned goods used in the structure are donated to Foodlink, our local food bank.

Contact: Linda Hewitt, Executive Director  


AIA Annual Golf Tournament

Currently in its 32nd year, the AIA Rochester/The Architectural Foundation of Greater Rochester’s “Swinging Fore Scholarships” tournament is held on the 2nd Tuesday in September.  It brings together architects, engineers, designers, allied members and more for a fun event and offers great networking opportunities.  It is AIA Rochester’s largest fundraiser, which funds both the scholarship program, local CES programs,  and grants to AIAS Chapters, Girls In Architecture, and ERA’s ARE Study program.

Contact: Linda Hewitt, Executive Director

Get Ahead:

AIA Rochester Board

Join the board for a unique opportunity to serve and influence your profession and peers. If you have ideas, they should be heard!  Open positions are made available in August and voting takes place in the fall prior to our Annual Meeting in October, where the winners are announced. While a few positions are only open to registered architect members per the bylaws, most positions are available to any member, regardless of licensure status or experience.

Contact: Linda Hewitt, Executive Director

Architectural Foundation of Greater Rochester (AFGR)

The Architectural Foundation of Greater Rochester's mission is to promote and enhance the practice of architecture as a cultural, artistic and business resource in the region. We advocate for the architectural community and built environment and provide scholarship opportunities to regional students pursuing a career in architecture. We also partner with government, professional, education, community and arts organizations to increase our reach and impact.

Contact: Linda Hewitt, Executive Director

AIA Rochester Committees

There are many ongoing committees to choose from, including Communications, Education, Governmental Affairs, Membership, Practice & Design, Public Relations, and more!

Contact: Linda Hewitt, Executive Director

Local Government/Activism

Become an active voice in the community by joining a community review board, attending local government meetings, and having an active say in regulations affecting our profession.

Contact: Bryan Toepfer, AIA

Continuing Education

Continuing Education credits can be obtained by attending a variety of presentations offered by the AIA. Current topics include Ethics, OLED solid-state lighting, and roofing.

Contact: Andrew Petrosky, AIA

Licensing Preparation

AR|E|RA study sessions allow those in the process of studying for the ARE exams to sit down with others, both licensed and not, to work through questions, share materials, and prepare to sit for the exams.

Contact: Christiana Mehmel, Associate AIA


AIA Rochester needs volunteers to help with materials that will keep our members engaged and informed, and in creating recruiting tools to bring in new members. We are also always looking for ways to communicate with the community at large. This includes social media, publications, and word of mouth.

Contact: Michelle Murnane, AIA

AIA Contract Documents

The Rochester chapter carries AIA Contract Documents in stock that can be purchased.  Documents can be ordered online and sent, or people can stop in when the office is open for pick up.

Contact: Linda Hewitt, Executive Director

Design Excellence Awards & the Design Awards Gala

The winners of the AIA Rochester Design Excellence Awards are announced at the annual Design Awards Gala. The Design Excellence Awards are established to encourage excellence in architectural design, to make the public more aware of the potential of the human-made environment, and to honor the architect, owner and builder of significant projects. This year’s Design Awards Gala was held on June 15th at the Arbor Loft.

Contact: Michael Trapanovski, AIA

AIA Honor Awards

Nominate, and support the nomination of AIA members for local and state Honor Award submissions. Any AIA Rochester member can be on the Honor Awards Committee.

Contact: Bridget Carney, Associate AIA

Image credits

Centennial committee