AIA-NJ Committee Seeks to Collaborate with Municipalities on Design Competitions

Emerging Professionals Committee announces new leadership for re-launched program, plans to assist non-profits and municipalities on small-scale projects

AIA-NJAIA-NJ announced the new leadership of its Emerging Professionals Committee, which represents New Jersey architectural students and their new graduates as well as recently licensed architects.

Tasked with guiding and supporting the careers of aspiring and new architects – approximately 300 of whom operate in New Jersey – the recently re-launched committee will be chaired by Jessica O’Donnell, AIA, and advised by Nicholas Caravella, Assoc. AIA, and Ryan Day, AIA.

With the dual goal of supporting communities and promoting the professional growth of its constituents, the committee is seeking to find ways for emerging professionals to volunteer their services for the betterment of their communities. They hope to collaborate with local municipalities and not-for-profit institutions on small-scale projects for which emerging professionals will team with an experienced architect, providing design solutions to the organizations while benefitting from the learning opportunity inherent in the process.

The committee intends to work with organizations in need of these services through design competitions, providing participants with firsthand project experience and the winning submission with prize money as compensation.

“Engaging our newest and youngest members is a priority for AIA-NJ, and it’s excellent to see the revitalized committee’s hard work to improve our outreach to our rising stars,” said Kim Bunn, president of AIA-NJ. “Many community centers, nonprofits and municipalities can benefit from the design ability of our interns and young professionals and we’re extremely proud of the committee leadership for bringing this initiative to light.”

The committee also has three directors: Grace Friedhoff, Assoc. AIA, who is tasked with leading service initiatives; Megan Pritts, Assoc. AIA, who will lead advocacy efforts; and Mark Barone, AIA, who will oversee educational programming.

In addition to its service, advocacy and educational activities, committee members will also engage in community work, including mentoring high school students interested in architecture.

“There are many municipalities and nonprofits that will find the sort of collaboration we are proposing invaluable,” said Caravella, who has personally worked with the city of Newark on such initiatives in the past. “Whether designing a parklet in urban areas or working on renovations for community cultural centers, there are a variety of design projects of the appropriate scope and size in every county in the state. As members of the architectural profession, we constantly strive to better serve the community, and this is an ideal opportunity for emerging professionals to utilize their capabilities in a way that truly benefits society.”

If you are interested in collaborating with Emerging Professionals on a project, please contact the committee’s board of directors at EPiC@aia-nj.org .

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