From left: Jessica Ma, Savannah College of Art & Design
Justin Lee, Drexel University
A man and a woman.
April 10, 2019

Two Interior Design Students Receive the Gensler 2019 Brinkmann Scholarship

The Scholarship is a juried program that reflects Gensler’s commitment to recognizing emerging design talent.

NEW YORK — Jessica Ma and Justin Lee have been awarded the 2019 Brinkman Scholarship, given to exceptional design students every year by Gensler, the world’s largest design and architecture firm. The award encourages excellence in interior design through the provision of financial scholarships and internship opportunities and includes an opportunity to intern with Gensler.

Ma is an undergraduate at Savannah College of Art and Design and received first-prize honors. Lee, an undergraduate at Drexel University, received the second-place prize.

“Our firm is constantly looking to stretch the boundaries of design so that we can provide unmatched value to our clients,” says Robin Klehr Avia, Regional Managing Principal for Gensler’s Northeast and Latin America regions. “Jessica and Justin are talented young designers whose work and innovative processes reflect the creative thinking our firm values. We are thrilled to support their development through The Brinkmann Scholarship.”

First-place winner Ma studied biomedical engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University before moving to the United States to pursue studies in interior design. Motivated by a desire to help people with developmental disabilities enjoy a higher quality of life, Ma’s submission proposed an independent living center where highly-tailored design choices allow individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder to flourish. The jury was impressed with the way her design work creates a space where people of all abilities can function equally. “I advocate for alleviating obstacles that hinder human interactions and lifestyles,” says Ma.

Second-place winner Lee’s background in computer science and engineering informs the way he approaches the design process. His use of virtual reality to convey design language and intent reflects his stated mission to leverage design in consideration of new trends and technologies. His submission is a proposed urban headquarters for an innovation-focused interior design firm. Its layout reinforces the importance of collaboration through a progressive mix of “me” and “we” spaces.

Established in 1999 as a memorial to Donald G. Brinkmann, an inspirational interior designer and former Gensler principal, the Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship celebrates Brinkmann’s career-long commitment to nurturing emerging design talent. Applications launch in September each year and close in December. Candidates are evaluated on their analysis and problem solving skills, design development, graphic presentation, communication skills, and passion.

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Sam Coats
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