AIA Selects Eight Students for the 2013 AIA/AAF Minority Disadvantaged Scholarship

AIA Selects Eight Students for the 2013 AIA/AAF Minority Disadvantaged Scholarship

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected eight students to receive the AIA/AAF Minority Disadvantaged Scholarship.

Since 1970 through a joint effort with the American Architectural Foundation (AAF), the scholarship is awarded to high school graduates, college freshmen, and community college students from a minority and/or financially disadvantaged background who intend to pursue a NAAB-accredited professional degree in architecture. The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage diversity in the architecture profession.

The scholarship committee, made up of dedicated teaching professional and practitioners of the profession received over 150 applications.


Francis Ikhalea is a sophomore attending The School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University where he plans on obtaining a bachelors and master's degree. Prior to being admitted to Morgan State University, Ikhalea graduated from Umbrella Comprehensive High School in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. From there he was admitted into The College of Engineering and Technology, at Olabisi Onabanjo University before coming to the U.S. in 2011.

Jose Ibarra, a native of Caracas, Venezuela moved to Miami in 2009. He recently graduated from Miami Dade College with a 4.0 GPA. Ibarra was the recipient of the 2012-2013 MDC Outstanding Student of the Year in Architecture Award. He serves as a community coordinator for, a non-profit organization focused on investing in millennial-led community projects and was honored with the President's Volunteer Service Award for community engagement and service. Ibarra will be attending Cornell University in the fall.

Esther Ju Eun Jeong is entering her second year at Virginia Tech where she is majoring in architecture and minoring in both industrial design and leadership and social change. Ju Eun Jeong recently spent a month in Africa as part of an art internship exchanging cultural backgrounds with native college students. In her spare time she enjoys sketching, exploring the world of fashion and crafting home decor.

Michael Keith Larche' II is a sophomore majoring in architecture at Tuskegee University. A native of New Orleans, Larche' was forced to relocate to Georgia after Hurricane Katrina. Larche' selected architecture as his major because he is inspired to return to New Orleans to help rebuild as well as help prevent extreme damage from future natural disasters. His future goals include earning his Ph.D. in architecture.

Rachel Clapper is pursuing a degree in architecture and minor in math from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where she was also born and raised. She graduated from Fox Chapel Area High School where she was a member of the National Art Honor Society and participated in an architecture apprenticeship. Clapper has aspired to become an architect since she was a toddler and hopes to one day establish her own design firm to provide affordable housing for needy families around the world.

Shelby Gonzales was born and raised in Galveston, Texas but was forced to move in 2008 after Hurricane Ike. After relocating to Texas City she became a member of the Computer and Drafting Club where she designed ranch style homes for the SkillsUSA drafting competition, coming in 2nd place. This fall, Gonzales will attend the University of Texas in San Antonio.

Wendy Hurtado, a native of Dallas, graduated with high honors from Skyline High School and is currently attending the School of Architecture at the University of Texas in Arlington. Hurtado also has a 4-year-old son whom is the motivation for her success. Her goal is to become a licensed architect.

Whitney Malone from Cohasset, Massachusetts will attend Syracuse University's School of Architecture this fall, where she plans to earn her bachelor's degree. Malone was captain of her high school field hockey team, a member of the National Honor Society as well as the high school concert and pep bands. After college Malone hopes to work in the field of architecture, designing academic and residential buildings, while also contributing to the development of environmentally friendly buildings and landscapes.


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