Kelia Todd awarded inaugural IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship

December 17, 2018
Kelia Todd


CHICAGO, IL – The IIDA Foundation, a not-for-profit philanthropic organization that works in collaboration with IIDA, in partnership with IA Interior Architects (IA), is pleased to announce the first recipients of the IA Interior Architects Diversity in Design Scholarship Fund.

“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.”

The inaugural Fund was established as a part of a five-year partnership between the IIDA Foundation and IA to enrich and advance the interior design profession by recognizing outstanding students.

“As the largest global architectural firm practicing interior design, we value and embrace the power of diversity; our design solutions become more impactful when we consider not only the diversity of the team creating a space but also its occupants and users,“ said Co-CEO and Presidents of IA Tom Powers, AIA, NCARB, and David Bourke. “We are excited to be partnering with the IIDA Foundation on a scholarship program that fosters these ideals. It was extremely encouraging to see all of the entries from around the country, and we offer our hearty congratulations to the winners, whose essays we found engaging.”

Students enrolled in a design or architecture program were encouraged to participate by writing a 500-word essay that expresses their point of view on the world of design and how diversity and innovation are interrelated. All essays were reviewed by the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees and IA Interior Architects.

Daniel Twum of Savannah College of Art and Design was awarded this year’s first-place scholarship award of $5,000 for his essay, “Design a New Dawn.” Ohio State University’s Kelia Todd received the second-place award of $3,000 for her essay, “Representation Matters.

There were four additional $500 scholarship awards granted for essays that received honorable mentions; the recipients were: Noor AlHelew, Student IIDA, San Jose State University for “Fish by Design”; Alanna Frierson, Student IIDA, Florida State University for “Diversity in Design: A Mixed Girl’s Perspective”; Samriddhi Kasliwal, Fashion Institute of Technology for “8,413 Miles of Difference”; and Vanessa Murray, Student IIDA, Athens Technical College for “Road Trips, Violin and AutoCAD.

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

For more information, contact Aisha Williams, senior director of industry relations and special events, at


About the IIDA Foundation

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.

About IA Interior Architects

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, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, 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. For more information visit