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April 04, 2018

Gensler Announces 2018 Diversity Scholarship Winners

Gensler is pleased to announce the winners of the firm’s annual Diversity Scholarship, which seeks to ignite innovation in design by supporting architecture students from underrepresented communities. Rosa McDonald, a graduate student at North Carolina State College of Design, received first prize honors and a $20,000 scholarship. Second prize and a $10,000 scholarship went to Alejandro Finol, an undergraduate student at Cornell University’s School of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Both winners will receive opportunities to intern with Gensler.

“Our firm has always believed that diversity is one of the key drivers of innovation in architecture for both our firm and our clients, and Gensler’s Diversity Scholarship is a unique opportunity for us to celebrate and empower emerging design talent from diverse backgrounds,” says Gensler Co-CEO Diane Hoskins. “Welcoming a variety of perspectives into our firm only strengthens our inclusive design environment.”

McDonald’s winning submission, a proposed Community Center in Durham, North Carolina, seeks to engage communities currently divided by socio-economic inequality and a lack of public resources. It creates a space where members of these communities can gather to socialize, learn, and celebrate wellness.

By foregrounding inclusive elements of health, wellness, and sustainability, all of which are fundamental to good design, her proposed solution grows community relationships across these divides. Her design holistically benefits members of the surrounding communities while grounding the building in smart solutions that benefit the environment. With an eye towards the future and equipping herself with insight into what sustains healthy communities and buildings, her winning submission presents a compelling narrative and solution.

Finol’s second place submission, a Rowing Center in Ithaca, New York, showcases exceptional design work informed by a diverse array of international influences. The submission expertly integrates these elements to create an experience that delights, enlightens, and functions in the most beautiful manner possible.

The Gensler Diversity Scholarship is a juried program that recognizes emerging talent among college architecture and design students from underrepresented or minority communities. Applicants must be enrolled in accredited architecture programs. The jury, which is composed of global design leaders across Gensler, selects winners from applications across the nation.

Founded to encourage a more robust dialogue between the architectural profession and minority architecture students, the scholarship reflects Gensler’s longstanding commitment to the recruitment and development of diverse design talent. The collaborative work setting at Gensler, with its diverse group of design experts, provides the perfect environment for selected students to expand their core competencies.

“Gensler’s Diversity Scholarship exposes our practice to the excellent work and innovative thinking being done by students from communities that haven’t always been adequately represented within the architecture and design industry,” says Carlos Martinez, a Gensler principal. “Celebrating diversity and encouraging the acceptance of a wide range of perspectives is fundamental to our firm’s culture and practice.”

The Diversity Scholarship is one facet of Gensler’s university and student outreach efforts. Applications for the scholarship launch in September each year and close in December. To be considered, students must be nominated by the dean of their school and submit work representative of their best design skills.

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