SmithGroup Awards 2024 Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Scholarships

2024 SmithGroup Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading integrated design firms, has named the recipients of the 2024 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 $210,000 to 35 recipients studying at schools across the United States.

The five students selected to receive 2024 J.E.D.I. scholarships are:

  • Akua Appiah-Adu is a graduate student studying architecture at Cornell University. Appiah-Adu will be an intern at SmithGroup’s Boston location. 

  • Dulce Carreno is a graduate student studying architecture and urban planning at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Carreno will be an intern at SmithGroup’s Milwaukee location. 

  • Alexis Beatty is an undergraduate student studying architectural engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Beatty will be an intern at SmithGroup’s Chicago location. 

  • Carlos "Alex" Gomez is an undergraduate student studying architecture at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona. Gomez will be an intern at SmithGroup's San Francisco location. 

  • German Felipe Laiton Hernandez is an undergraduate student studying civil engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. Laiton Hernandez will be an intern at SmithGroup's Chicago location.

"We remain committed to disrupting injustice and inequity in the built environment through the many programs, including our J.E.D.I. Scholarship," says Rosa Sheng, SmithGroup’s director of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. "The SmithGroup J.E.D.I. Scholarship program is organized to offer recipients a strong foundation on which to build their future careers in the design industry. We find the exchange of perspectives, experience and skills inherent in engaging scholars in real-world design experience in this program is incredibly beneficial to our design teams as well."

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 at one of SmithGroup’s U.S. location.

"We believe strongly that our design teams should be representative of the communities we serve. Our J.E.D.I. Scholarship is one means of helping to cultivate a more just and equitable design industry by cultivating a more inclusive pipeline of future design talent," says Troy Thompson, a managing partner for the firm. "Our scholarship programs, including the J.E.D.I. Scholarship, are each designed to offer real-work experience, foster mentoring relationships with professionals, and provide tuition support to help young designers launch successful professional careers."

Applicants 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.


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