IIDA and IA Interior Architects announce recipients of Diversity in Design scholarships

IIDA with IA Interior Architects has announced the 2022 recipients of the IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship.

“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.”

The scholarship fund was established as part of a five-year partnership between the IIDA Foundation and IA to enrich and advance the interior design profession by recognizing outstanding students.

“This year, we challenged students to think about tactics for creating more equity in education and the design industry,” said IA Co-CEOs and Presidents Tom Powers, IIDA, and David Bourke. “We received a number of outstanding entries strongly addressing this topic and we extend our sincerest congratulations to the winners. We’re excited to see the future impact these young professionals will have on the industry.”


Students enrolled in a design or architecture program were encouraged to submit by writing a 500-word essay challenging 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 and IA, and are juried anonymously.

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

California State University Long Beach’s 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, to 400,000-plus social media followers and on IIDA.org where the full winning essays are available.

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 Diversity in Design Scholarship,contact foundation@iida.org.

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