The following is a July 19 press release from the National Organization of Minority Architects announcing the fifth class of its NOMA Future Faces fellowship. NOMA Future Faces, originally called the NOMA Foundation Fellowship, graduated 20 architecture students in 2022.

The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) announces its fifth class of architecture students as the 2023 summer fellows cohort of the NOMA Future Faces (NFF), previously known as the NOMA Foundation Fellowship. Awarding nearly 100 total fellowships since 2020, NFF is a two-month summer fellowship hosted at leading architecture firms across the country where fellows engage in design research and benefit from firm mentorship. In an industry where only two percent of licensed architects in the United States identify as Black, the NFF plays a crucial role in providing valuable professional experience to underrepresented students. Through their programs, NFF aims to bridge the gap between these students and the architectural profession, offering them a pathway towards future employment in the field.

“Professional experience through fellowship is one of the most impactful ways to address diversification in the field of architecture and design, helping develop and expose young designers to the industry through first-hand experience and professional relationship-building,” says Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, 2023-2024 NOMA President and Associate Principal at Adjaye Associates. “NFF is one initiative that gets us closer to achieving equal representation in the field and eliminating the barriers to enter the profession.”

The NOMA Future Faces fellowship went through a rebranding in 2023. The new name highlights the program's purpose: to develop and propel forward the next generation of Black and minority architects who will be designing for the future.

“The NOMA Future Faces fellowship rebrand has a dual meaning,” says Tiffany Brown, MBA, NOMA, Assoc. AIA, NOMA Executive Director. “It embodies the development of young designers to professionally grow and secure their licensureship but also to foster the future leadership committed to ensuring there is representation in the field. NOMA’s mission is based on the lack of equal representation of Black and minority faces in the profession, and this work continues indefinitely.”

The NFF program stands out as the inaugural initiative following the introduction of the American Institute of Architects Large Firm Round Table (AIA LFRT) 2030 Diversity Challenge. This challenge has urged the architectural industry to elevate the count of licensed Black architects from 2,300 to 5,000 by 2030, effectively doubling the representation from two percent to approximately four percent of licensed architects in the United States.

To date, 96 fellows have been placed at 88 firms since 2020, with students representing 77 colleges and universities across the U.S.

As of 2023, the AIA LFRT has extended its funding commitment until 2030, specifically aimed at expanding the fellowship program. This increased funding will enable them to award a greater number of fellows and provide the stipends necessary to support their endeavors.

“The additional investment from our industry partners reaffirms the commitment to invest and change the profession,” says Brown. “We are grateful for their generous contributions that allow NOMA and participating firms to grow and nurture talent, creating a more equitable profession in the future that benefits us all.”

NFF 2023

The fellowship application process for the fifth cohort was open to all National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) members in good standing. The summer program runs from June 5 - July 28, 2023. This summer the NOMA Fellows receive a $2,000 travel reimbursement and a $1,000 licensure stipend once they become a licensed architect.

The 2023 summer fellowship cohort included the following architecture students and graduates placed at design firms across the U.S.:

  • Cameron Mack, Howard University at Cooper Carry
  • Kaelyn Bowers, Columbia University at DLR Group
  • Ashlea Hume, University of Arizona at Ennead Architects LLP
  • Gabrielle Billingslea, Savannah College of Art and Design at Flad Architects
  • Liliana Hunt Amezquita, California State University, San Luis Obispo at KTGY
  • Caleb Kwok, Illinois Institute of Technology at Little Diversified Architectural Consulting
  • Jordano Hernandez, South Dakota State University at Little Diversified Architectural Consulting
  • Louis Roa, California Baptist University at LPA
  • Nke Adwowa Opoku, New York Institute of Technology at NAC
  • Alexander Thomas, Yale University at NBBJ
  • Jerund Jai-Neal Sanders, Louisiana State University at Solomon Cordwell Buenz
  • Rosario Elisabeth Rojas, California Baptist University at Smithgroup
  • Elise Yumin Park, New York Institute of Technology at Page

“My work experience through the NOMA Future Faces fellowship was extremely fruitful.” says Shakori Carpenter, an architecture student at University of Tennessee, Knoxville and 2022 NFF Cohort alum. “I got more insight into what to expect within the field and was able to better define what I’m interested in regarding architecture.”

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