LPA Awards First Grants in New Interdisciplinary Diversity Scholarship Program

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Five high school students will receive $5,000 renewable scholarships, mentorship and career support as part of new program focused on underrepresented demographics in architecture, engineering and design

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“We are committed to advancing the diversity, equity and inclusion of the architecture, design and engineering disciplines.”

Integrated design firm LPA Design Studios today announced the first recipients of a new scholarship program that will provide long-term financial aid and mentorship to students in historically underrepresented demographics pursuing a degree in architecture, engineering, interior design or landscape architecture.

The LPA Interdisciplinary Diversity Scholarship Program awarded five high school seniors in California and Texas with $5,000 scholarships, renewable for four to five years, depending on the degree. In addition to financial aid, students will be matched with LPA designers in their respective disciplines as mentors with the opportunity for paid summer internships at LPA.

Developed through the LPA Foundation with Scholarship America, the program is targeting the industry’s well-documented lack of diversity. Earlier this year, LPA pledged to disclose its workplace practices through the International Living Future Institute’s JUST Program, a nationwide initiative to promote social equity and enhance engagement in the workplace.

“This scholarship program reflects our larger efforts to support a more diverse generation of professionals who will help foster a greater design perspective,” said Wendy Rogers, CEO and Chief Talent Officer at LPA Design Studios. “We are committed to advancing the diversity, equity and inclusion of the architecture, design and engineering disciplines.”

The program seeks to build a long-term relationship with the students, supporting them as they continue their design studies. Throughout the process, students will be introduced to a multi-discipline approach to design, which focuses on collaboration and cooperation across disciplines.

“The passion and dedication of these students is incredible, and we are proud to help support their academic and professional endeavors,” said Brien Graham, chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Council and project manager at LPA Design Studios.

Beyond the financial support, the program will help students to develop a peer group in professions where they often don’t see people who look like them, Graham says.

“We are trying to build transformational relationships that will help them develop their own cohort and support groups as they advance in their careers,” Graham said.

This year’s scholarship recipients include:

  • Diego Riverbay (Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley – Berkeley, CA)

A senior at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California, Riverbay was inspired to become a mechanical engineer by his ingenuity building things around the house, love of problem solving and desire to make an impact on the community.

“I know that engineers make an impact on the world. They make people’s lives better and easier. I know that I will have the opportunity to create change and improve someone’s life.”

  • Elisabeth Gutierrez (Architecture, Penn State University – State College, PA)

A senior at Sidney Lanier High School in San Antonio, Texas, Gutierrez dreams of owning her own architectural firm. She aspires to design buildings and houses that will be safe and cost-efficient for families struggling with their finances.

“Being able to give back to my community and other communities around me is one of the many things I will accomplish as I continue to grow throughout my career.”

  • Aisha Lizaola (Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas – Austin, TX)

A senior at Akins High School in Austin, Texas, Lizaola’s goal is to aid in the development of safer and more equitable spaces through her love for STEM. She aims to change the status quo in urban planning in an effort to improve the health and livelihood of residents.

“I will do everything I can to uphold and implement the pillars of sustainable development represented by LPA's work. As I embark on the next step of my educational journey, LPA’s contribution to my future will allow me to devote my all to embodying the company's values and spirit in my professional endeavors.”

  • Elsie Lappin (Civil Engineering, Southern Methodist University – Dallas, TX)

Lappin is majoring in civil engineering and architectural studies at Burleson Centennial High School in Burleson, Texas. She plans to pursue a career in urban planning.

“In retirement, I would love to serve as a mentor to help inspire future generations of engineers.”

  • Hunter Aguilar (Civil Engineering – San Jose State University – San Jose, CA)

Currently a senior at Inderkum High in Sacramento, California, Aguilar is extremely focused on academic success. He plans to seize every opportunity that presents itself as he enters college and take advantage of the resources he’s been given to further his educational goals.

“The magnitude of this scholarship will allow me to make my goals and dreams a reality in spite of financial limitations. I hope one day I’ll be able to give back and help other students achieve their goals.”

The LPA Foundation was founded in 2015 to support the firm’s charitable giving and volunteer efforts, and advance integrated design through research, education and sustainability. The Foundation supports a wide variety of education programs, including the Built Environment Education Program (BEEP), which introduces K-12 students to all aspects of the built environment, and the ACE Mentor Program, which teams students with LPA design professionals for one-on-one mentorship in architecture and engineering.

LPA’s Interdisciplinary Diversity Scholarship Program is administered by Scholarship America, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations and individuals.

About LPA Design Studios

Founded in 1965, LPA specializes in creating innovative environments that work better, do more with less and improve people’s lives. An integrated design firm with six locations in California and Texas, LPA’s team includes more than 400 in-house architects, master planners, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and research analysts, working across a wide array of sectors. For more information, visit lpadesignstudios.com.

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Jade Terry
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