National Organization of Minority Architects Awards 2021 Foundation Fellowships to Historically Black College and University Students
WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 8, 2021 — The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) announced a new class of 10 architecture students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) as the 2021 winter cohort of the NOMA Foundation Fellowship (NFF). The NFF is a two-month virtual research fellowship hosted at leading architecture firms across the country this winter. Fellows will engage in design research and benefit from firm mentorship. NFF provides professional experience to underrepresented students to connect them to the profession and provide a pipeline to eventual employment. In all recessions, including the current one, minorities are often the most adversely impacted by job loss.
“Through the NOMA Foundation Fellowship, the design industry is supporting architecture students at HBCUs by exposing them to the office culture and projects at their firms and sharing the experience of what it’s like to work in the field of architecture,” said NOMA President and Gensler Senior Associate Jason Pugh, NOMA, AIA, AICP, LEED AP. “As we seek to educate, elevate and empower the next generation of Black and minority architects and designers, programs that provide access and mentorship for young professionals are critical for inclusion and involvement in the industry.”
The NOMA Foundation Fellowship program was the first initiative to launch since the announcement of the AIA Large Firm Round Table (AIA LFRT) 2030 Diversity Challenge, which called for the industry to increase the number of licensed Black architects from 2,300 to 5,000 by 2030, expanding representation from 2 percent to roughly 4 percent Black licensed architects in the U.S. NOMA originally launched the NFF as a three-month summer design fellowship in 2020; however, COVID-19 forced the restructuring of the program to ensure that fellows and firms are availed of meaningful experiences while protecting their health and wellness.
The second winter cohort fellowship application process was open to any National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) members at an HBCU. The program and application process was managed by Melanie Ray, AIA, LEED Green Assoc., NOMA, NCARB, NOMA Northeast University Liaison and an Associate at Hord Coplan Macht.
The 2021 winter fellowship cohort includes the following architecture students and graduates placed at design firms across the U.S.:
- Gabrielle Fakeye, Florida A&M University, at Cannon Design
- Tony Fitzgerald, University of the District of Columbia, at David Bakers Architects
- Milamem Lauriane Donang, University of the District of Columbia, at Hord Coplan Macht
- Madison lanta Summers, Hampton University, at HGA
- Rodney Garner II, Hampton University, at LS3P
- William Collins, Florida A&M University, at ZGF
- Dejanie Wright, Morgan State University, at MG2
- Theodore “Teddy” Levy, Morgan State University, at Robert A.M. Stern (RAMSA)
- Elijah Trice, Morgan State University, at HKS
- Sekou Muhammad, Prairie View A&M University, at Gould Evans
“I am truly grateful for NOMA and the mentorship provided by RAMSA, who has warmly welcomed me during these times of economic, professional, and social uncertainty,” said Teddy Levy, an architecture student at Morgan State University. “I look forward to growing from the research experience and sharing the efforts with my peers and the NOMA family. I wish to use architecture to imagine a more equitable future. What better way to accomplish that goal than to participate in this fellowship program. Thank you, NOMA, for this fantastic opportunity.”
The newly announced 2021-2022 NOMA President, Pugh is a proud HBCU alumni, having graduated from Howard University’s school of architecture, one of the largest HBCUs located in Washington, D.C. He has prioritized strengthening NOMA’s long standing relationship with HBCUs and expanding resources and opportunities for both students and faculty during his presidency. Founded after the Civil War but before the 1964 Civil Rights Act, HBCUs created education and degree opportunities for African Americans when no other colleges or universities would. The Morrill Act of 1890 required states to provide land-grants for colleges to serve Black students, which allowed HBCUs to build their own campuses. As land-grant funded schools, HBCUs mission was not only to educate free and newly free Blacks, but those from all low socioeconomic populations, which included Whites. HBCU are historic institutions whose mission statements show their ability and desire to educate those that were denied higher education, both by law and by practice.
“HBCUs continue to provide opportunities to expand an educated Black middle class across the country, while inspiring generations of engineers and architects among many other professions within the African American community,” said Pugh. “It is an honor to connect exceptional design firms to the promising student talent that emerges from these historic and hallowed institutions.”