Marian Petison, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
2016 Diversity Scholarship — First Prize Winner
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March 22, 2016

Gensler Selects 2016 Diversity Scholarship Winners

Gensler is pleased to announce the winners of the firm’s eighth annual Diversity Scholarship. Marian Petison, a master of architecture student at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), received first prize honor. Second prize went to Rashidat Momoh, an undergraduate architecture student at Mississippi State University. Both winners will receive academic scholarships and opportunities to intern with Gensler.
“Gensler’s Diversity Scholarship is an important platform for expanding how we find the best talent nationally. We believe creating teams that represent different backgrounds and point of views enriches the creative process and provides our clients the most compelling design solutions. Our scholarship program celebrates diversity and invites a new generation of designers to join our firm and further expand our global perspective,” said Carlos Martínez, principal.
Petison is originally from Ghana and her winning submission, a master plan for the Colleges of the Fenway Commencement Center in Boston, exhibits a high level of design sophistication and a strong understanding of how structural systems should seamlessly integrate into buildings at the human scale. The master plan connects the center to the surrounding Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood by providing blended spaces for public gatherings. These spaces are open to students, faculty and neighborhood residents. “A designer should approach a project by thinking about who is going to use it,” she said. “This is how I approached the design of the commencement center, and I tried as much as possible to integrate details on the scale of individual humans.”
Momoh’s second place submission explores how high-performance wood technologies can be used in large scale construction projects in order to address issues of sustainability without sacrificing performance. Her submission demonstrates a level of technical proficiency not always seen with architecture students today. Momoh also hand drafted every drawing for her submission, exhibiting her talent for a skill that has become increasingly scarce within the architecture profession. 
The Gensler Diversity Scholarship is a juried program that recognizes emerging talent among African-American college students enrolled in accredited architecture programs. The jury, composed of design leaders across Gensler and representative of a range of practice areas, selects winners from numerous applications across the nation. Founded to encourage a more robust dialogue between the architectural profession and African-American 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 students to grow and expand their core capabilities. 
“Gensler’s Diversity Scholarship not only helps us surface great talent but further enriches our firm’s perspective by asking architects with diverse backgrounds to help us create the very best designs for our clients,” said Gensler Co-CEO Diane Hoskins
The program is a critical component of Gensler’s university and student outreach programs. Scholarships launch in September each year and close in December. To be considered students must be nominated by their school dean and submit work that represents their best design skills.
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