(L-R): Bria Miller, Lauren Jasper, Francesco Di Caprio, Barbara Nasila, Khalid Hassan, Jada Cannon, Jermaine Parker, Oluwatosin Odugbemi, Anthony Thayer, Angel Mangham, Oluwapelumi Adefarakan, Auriel Lewis, Joi Wood, Tori Dunston, Kianna Armstrong
2023 Rising Black Designers Scholarship Winners
Diversity in Design Bursary + Prize Winners
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May 19, 2023

22 Emerging Designers Receive 2023 Gensler Scholarships Promoting Diversity in the Architecture Industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gensler is proud to announce 22 emerging designers as the recipients of the 2023 Gensler Rising Black Designers Scholarship and Diversity in Design Bursary (UK), awarding them over $80,000 in scholarships from this year’s program.

Rising Black Designers Scholarship + Design Challenge

In 2020, Gensler launched the Rising Black Designers Scholarship + Design Challenge to help talented design students overcome the costs associated with higher education. This annual program awards tuition scholarships, micro-scholarships for books and materials, and opportunities for summer internships to underrepresented Black students enrolled in U.S.-based not-for-profit architecture programs.

2023 Tuition Scholarship Recipients

This year’s first prize honor was given to Bria Miller, a graduate student at Howard University, who received a $10,000 tuition scholarship. The jury awarded the remaining four $10,000 tuition scholarships to: Lauren Jasper, an undergraduate student at Cornell University; Francesco Di Caprio, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota; Barbara Nasila, a graduate student at Yale University; and Khalid Hassan, a graduate student at Yale University.

“Gensler is committed to introducing diverse students to careers in architecture and design,” said Diane Hoskins, Co-CEO of Gensler. “We are proud to support these talented young designers as they pursue higher education and emerge as the next generation of design leaders who embrace the opportunity to address the world’s most complex challenges.”

This year, the tuition scholarship applicants were asked to respond to one of four prompts that addressed current challenges in society: reestablishing trust in public safety, reinventing the human experience post-pandemic, reimagining ways for designers to make a difference, and designing for racial equality and inclusiveness in our practice, communities, and cities.

A Master of Architecture candidate at Howard University, Bria Miller originally hails from Virginia Beach and Nassau, Bahamas. Miller strives to employ decolonial and anti-racist frameworks in her approach to design, aiming to acknowledge the histories, victories, and cultural dimensions of the communities she impacts. Overall, her design philosophy challenges dominant systems of oppression and assumed normative positions. For Miller, winning the scholarship serves as a powerful validation of her hard work, dedication, and aspirations in the field of design. The honor is a symbol of encouragement, empowerment, and representation for Black designers like herself, which will enable her to generate meaningful solutions that combat systemic injustices and uplift underserved communities.

A fourth-year undergraduate at Cornell University, Lauren Jasper is an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) and Diversity and Inclusion in Real Estate (DAIRE), two organizations that feed her knowledge and understanding of inclusive architecture. For Jasper, winning this scholarship affirms that her voice is needed and appreciated in the architecture industry, helping her to recognize the uniqueness of her perspective and appreciate its value.

Francesco Di Caprio studied Civil Engineering at Princeton before pursuing his Master of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. Architecture appeals to Di Caprio because it is always seeking new and creative solutions to big problems such as climate crises and social and racial injustice. An active member of his local NOMAS chapter — and a board member of Streets.mn, a non-profit website that publishes local writing on transportation and urban planning — he hopes to find a post-graduation role that enables him to better understand and develop his passions every day.

A Master of Architecture candidate at Yale University, Barbara Nasila is a Fred Blank and Dean’s Merit Scholar. A first-generation student from Mombasa, Kenya, Nasila previously received her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley where she was actively engaged in her NOMAS and AIAS chapters. As a young African designer, she firmly believes in grounding her design thinking within an existing context, recognizing the importance of endogenous solutions. She aspires to dismantle imperialist design theories and rejuvenate a creative intellectualism deeply rooted in African essence and is dedicated to promoting empathetic custodianship of knowledge by integrating traditional and colonial pasts with our ever-evolving social-cultural present and limitless future.

Winner Khalid Hassan is a Master of Architecture candidate at Yale University where he is a Carol Ann Rinehart Scholar and a Dean’s Merit Scholar. Previously, he completed a Bachelor of Design in Environmental Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, where he earned his degree with distinction and was the recipient of the Alfred T. Vivash Award upon graduation. His experiences span community development, design/build projects, government-commissioned research, and publications. His research and publication work has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals, École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI), Paris, the Ontario College of Art and Design University, and the Government of Canada’s National Research Council.

2023 Micro-Scholarship Recipients

In addition to the tuition scholarships, ten students were awarded micro-scholarships, smaller awards intended to supplement the added expense of studio materials and books.

The following students were recipients of this year’s Rising Black Designers Micro Scholarships:

  • Jada Cannon, Masters, Cornell University
  • Jermaine Parker, Bachelors, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Oluwatosin Odugbemi, Masters, Harvard University
  • Anthony Thayer, Bachelors, City College of New York
  • Angel Mangham, Masters, University of Detroit Mercy
  • Oluwapelumi Adefarakan, Bachelors, Norwich University
  • Auriel Lewis, Bachelors, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Joi Wood, Masters, Howard University
  • Tori Dunston, Masters, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Kianna Armstrong, Bachelors, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

The Rising Black Designers Scholarship + Design Challenge reflects Gensler’s commitment to fostering diverse design talent. Applicants must be enrolled in architecture programs within the U.S. Gensler’s breadth of practice area expertise and inclusive professional environment provide selected students with an opportunity to expand their core competencies and broaden their understanding of the power that design holds to effect transformative change.

Diversity in Design Bursary + Prizes (UK)

In 2022, Gensler launched the Diversity in Design Bursary and Prizes to help break down the barriers to entering the architectural profession for underrepresented ethnic minority students in the United Kingdom.

Year Out Bursary

Grace Orimoyegun, an undergraduate student at the University of Sheffield, received first prize honors, a £10,000 bursary, in addition to a full-time position in the Gensler London office.

The Year Out Bursary applicants were challenged to respond to one of four prompts that addressed current challenges in society, such as: reestablishing trust in public safety; reinventing the human experience post-pandemic; reimagining ways for designers to make a difference; and designing for racial equality and inclusiveness in our practice, communities, and cities.

Growing up in an academically driven household, Orimoyegun thoroughly enjoyed learning and being challenged, and over time, found that architectural problem-solving became her favorite way to keep her mind active. Since then, Orimoyegun has developed an intuitive way of thinking when it comes to design. With her passion for social inclusion and change-making, she designs with the goal of heightening user experiences within spaces, believing that a well-designed series of spaces can positively impact individual perceptions and interactions. A winner of a 2022 Diversity in Design Micro Prize, Orimoyegun will be joining the Gensler London office for her Year Out Placement, a recommended year of working between one’s undergraduate and graduate degrees for students in the United Kingdom.

Micro Prizes

In addition to the Year Out Bursary, six students were awarded micro-prizes, which are smaller awards intended to supplement the added expense of studio materials and books. The following students were recipients of this year’s Diversity in Design Micro-Prizes:

  • Arshya Mittal, Manchester School of Architecture
  • Aaria Anand, Manchester School of Architecture
  • Michael Kan, University of Edinburgh
  • Starr Charles, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
  • Bewaji Oyesanya, Ravensbourne University
  • Jennifer Lau, Manchester School of Architecture

Applications for the 2024 Rising Black Designers Scholarship and the Diversity in Design Bursary + Micro Prizes will launch in the fall of 2023. To be considered, students must have a letter of recommendation from the dean of their school and submit work representative of their best design skills.

For more information about the Gensler scholarships and bursary programs, please visit gensler.com/scholarships or reach out to .

Meet our Gensler Scholarship recipients — watch the winners’ video submissions.

About Gensler
Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 53 locations and more than 7,000 professionals networked across the Americas, Europe, Greater China, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. Founded in 1965, the firm works globally across more than 29 practice areas spanning the work, lifestyle, community, and health sectors. We are guided by our mission to create a better world through the power of design, and the source of our strength is our people. By leveraging our diversity of ideas, our research and innovation, our shared values, and our One-Firm Firm culture, we are working seamlessly as a borderless firm in 140 countries and making the greatest impact on our communities as we continue to tackle the world’s challenges.

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