2022 Associates Award
The AIA Associates Award is given to individual Associate AIA members to recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.
Few young designers are as deeply engaged in bettering the profession and their communities as Jennifer Katherine Peeler Truman, Assoc. AIA, who channels her background in architecture and civil engineering to demonstrate the need for true citizen architects. A champion for small businesses and healthy, sustainable food systems, Truman uses architecture as a means to enhance places for people to enjoy, play in, and admire.
Truman is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where she studied civil engineering as an undergraduate before completing her M.Arch degree. During her time there, Truman was an integral link between the School of Architecture’s student body and the broader professional community. During her tenure as vice president of the university’s American Institute of Architecture Students chapter, she was the lead organizer for the NC State South Quad Conference 2013. The event featured social events, firm visits, and an open dialogue with faculty members focused on studio culture.
Since then, Truman has held several leadership roles in AIA. She has been the associate chair for AIA Triangle Young Architects and Emerging Professionals, AIA North Carolina’s emerging professionals director, and, most recently, the AIA South Atlantic Region regional associates director. In all of those roles, she is a relentless advocate for emerging professionals.
“A 50-year veteran of our profession and having served as both director of advocacy and, at present, environmental sustainability, I have gained insight into who the movers and shakers are in our AIA chapter and our progression,” wrote J. Richard Alsop, AIA, in a letter supporting Truman’s nomination for the Associates Award. “And, by far, there is no singular AIA associate whom I can name who matches the level of engagement of Jenn Truman in every aspect of our statewide activities.”
Truman is an apprentice at Durham, North Carolina’s Matthew Konar Architect, where for the past five years her work has focused on restaurant and retail clients building spaces for the first time in and around the Raleigh-Durham region. Those experiences have provided her with unparalleled knowledge of the challenges facing small businesses. Her intimate knowledge of the building industry is complementary to her exposure to local and state policy.
After establishing herself professionally in the area, Truman has worked to see Raleigh-Durham grow effectively and equitably for her children and the generations that will follow. Involved in a wide range of issues that affect the built environment and cultural fabric, Truman has proven to be a singular resource for mayors and city councils. Truman regularly attends council meetings, often with one of her young children in tow, to speak on key issues.
In 2020, Truman worked closely with Sweet Peas Urban Gardens to introduce and pass a zoning change that would allow community gardens in Raleigh to sell produce at street-side farm stands. Last year, Truman was appointed to the Raleigh Transit Authority and is deeply involved with guiding the $38 million operation. She helped steer the organization through a transition to clean natural gas and electric buses, the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures, and planning for future rapid transit corridors.
“While Jenn’s professional and civic accomplishments are inspiring, her most striking achievement is that she has done all of this while simultaneously managing several projects and raising three incredible kids,” wrote Shawna Mabie, AIA, in support of Truman’s nomination. “Jenn volunteered with AIA through having her first child, and her subsequent children have not slowed her down one bit. In fact, her kids continue to motivate her to fight for the lasting changes she advocates for to make this world better for them in the future.”