SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading integrated design firms, has named the recipients of the 2022 SmithGroup Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Scholarships. The annual scholarship program was established to foster a more diverse and inclusive design industry by investing in the next generation of design talent. Since its inception in 2018, the program has awarded $150,000 to 25 recipients across the United States.
The five students selected to receive 2022 J.E.D.I. scholarships are:
Yasmeen Abdelaal is a graduate student studying architecture at Virginia Tech. Abdelaal will be an intern with the Washington, DC office.
Daniela Chousal is an undergraduate student studying architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. Chousal will be an intern with the Dallas office.
Yaneliz Garcia Ruiz is an undergraduate student studying civil engineering, with a focus on structural engineering, at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Garcia Ruiz will be an intern with the Detroit office.
Vanessa Giraldo Ruiz is an undergraduate student studying interior design at San José State University. Giraldo Ruiz will be an intern with the San Francisco office.
Taylor Tomman is a graduate student studying architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy. Tomman will be an intern with the Detroit office.
“We look forward to welcoming the scholarship recipients into our offices and our project teams with paid internships this summer,” says Rosa Sheng, SmithGroup’s director of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. “Our aim is to encourage their development as emerging designers and engineers, build their real-world work experience and welcome their perspectives, experiences and expertise in our design process.”
SmithGroup’s J.E.D.I. scholarship program is designed to support students from historically underrepresented demographics studying architecture, interior design, planning, landscape architecture or engineering. Each scholarship recipient receives a one-time award of $6,000 to offset tuition costs, as well as a paid summer internship with one of SmithGroup’s U.S. offices.
“We continue to invest in creating a more diverse and inclusive talent pipeline to ensure we are creating a more just and equitable future for design professions,” says Troy Thompson, a managing partner for the firm. “We believe programs like this, providing mentorship and advancement of marginalized and underrepresented groups in our industry, are essential for dismantling systems that perpetuate injustice in the built environment.”
Candidates were solicited through outreach to a wide list of colleges and universities with eligible academic programs, via the firm’s social media platforms, and through professional organizations’ collegiate chapters such as The National Society of Black Engineers, National Organization of Minority Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects and Society of Hispanic Engineers. Applications were evaluated by a selection committee comprised of SmithGroup design and engineering professionals from underrepresented populations.
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