IA Interior Architects Announces Annual Diversity in Design Scholarship


BOSTON–IA Interior Architects announced anhe winners of the 2019 Diversity in Design Scholarship. Established in coordination with the IIDA Foundation, the program is in its second year and was created as a five-year partnership to enrich and advance the interior design profession by recognizing outstanding students.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with the IIDA Foundation for the second year in a row on a scholarship that promotes the power of diversity and the need to support design students across all walks of life,” said IA Co-CEOs and Presidents Tom Powers and David Bourke. “We received a number of outstanding entries from around the world, and we extend our sincerest congratulations to all of the winners. We can’t wait to see the impact these young professionals will have on the design profession.”

Open to all students currently enrolled in a design or architecture program, the entry requirements were a 500-word essay on “The Influence of Diversity on the Future of Design Thinking.” Essays needed to address the ways designers can reshape norms and ideate on the future of the industry, and how the profession can prepare for the unexpected at the intersection of interior architecture and technology.

“Through this scholarship, we are so pleased to be actively supporting and uplifting diverse voices within the design community,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “The recipients, all from various backgrounds and areas of expertise, are the representatives of what our industry can and should look like.”

All essays were reviewed by the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees and IA Interior Architects. As part of the recognition, scholarship recipients are invited to visit an IA office near their school, all expenses paid, for lunch and to spend time with designers for a real-world learning experience.


Jieyi Li

Jieyi Li, Student IIDA

ArtCenter College of Design


Shayna Krizan

Shayna Krizan, Student IIDA
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jieyi Li, Student IIDA, of Art Center College of Design (Pasadena CA) was awarded this year’s first-place scholarship award of $5,000 for her essay, “Space = Experience = Collaboration,” viewable here.

University of Wisconsin-Madison’s (Madison, WI) Shayna Krizan, Student IIDA, received the second-place award of $3,000 for her essay, “Thinking Outside the Box,” viewable here.


Liwam Beraki

Liwam Beraki

Martha Duque

Martha Duque
Student IIDA

Karla Perez

Karla Perez

Mahzad Soheili

Mahzad Soheili
Student IIDA

There were four additional $500 scholarship awards granted for essays that received honorable mentions; the recipients were:

Liwam Beraki

Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)

“Building a Bridge Across Disciplines, People, and Thoughts,” viewable here.

Martha Duque, Student IIDA
Interior Designers Institute (Newport Beach, CA)
“Deepening Design through Diversity,” viewable here.

Karla Perez
New York Institute of Technology, (New York, NY)
“Voices in the Industry,” viewable here.

Mahzad Soheili, Student IIDA
Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY)
“To Reach Beyond,” viewable here.

“We must actively embrace, accurately represent, and enthusiastically amplify the voices and ideas of design professionals with diverse backgrounds and identities to ensure the industry remains inclusive, well-rounded, and authentic,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “The creative, enlightened points of view demonstrated in our first group of submissions are a true testament to the power and perspective the future leaders of our industry hold.”

All IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship Fund recipients will be featured in the Design Matters and Quad newsletters; winning essays are available on the IIDA website.

Founded in 1984, IA Interior Architects is the first and largest global architectural firm focused exclusively on interior architecture and strategies. IA collaborates with clients in diverse markets worldwide to align their business strategies and core values with the dynamic use of space. IA’s global network includes offices in Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Dublin, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Orange County, Portland, Raleigh, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Toronto, and Washington, DC, as well as partner affiliates in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and Australia, Canada, and Latin America through the IA Global Alliance.

The IIDA Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 philanthropic organization whose mission is to advance interior design through education, research, and knowledge to benefit IIDA and the interior design profession. The Foundation works in collaboration with IIDA to support the strategic plan of the Association, which includes design professionals, industry affiliates, educators, students, firms, and their clients through a network of 15,000+ members across 58 countries.