Tag Archives: Student Awards

2017 IIDA SoCal Student Portfolio Competition


The IIDA Southern California 2017 Student Portfolio Competition was held on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at the Steelcase showroom located high in the skyline of downtown Los Angeles. Taking part were 20 extremely talented and diverse students from 7 participating Southern California Schools.

Take a look at photos from the event here!

Students arrived as scheduled throughout the day, carrying intricate models, stunning display boards, and various other materials with which to present their best efforts. There were 3 categories of competition this year: 

Innovation in Interior Design – awarded for the presentation that shows the highest level of innovation through design solutions.

Social Relevance in Interior Design – awarded for the presentation that best addresses social or cultural issues through creative design.

The Stephanie Tarr Award – awarded to the student who best demonstrates their commitment to involvement in the Southern California design industry through their IIDA membership, event volunteering, service to the community, charity work, and other forms of mentoring or participation.

Faced with the complex task of judging these wildly different and innovative projects were:

Aram Arakelian – Founder Environmental Contracting Corp., Founder Scholarship Foundation, Affiliate, IIDA

Cassie Sanchez – Gensler – Past VP student Affairs, IIDA

Claire Thompson – The Thompson Collaborative LLC – Past President, IIDA

Laurence Cartledge – Rottet Studio – Former Judge

Scott Johnson – Wolcott – Past President, IIDA

Susanne – Molina – Design One – Fellow and Past President, IIDA

 After a long day filled with nervous preparation, enthusiastic presentations, tours of the Steelcase showroom, and networking, the judges deliberated to decide the most deserving honorees from among the many outstanding participants.


The Innovation category, with a $5000 scholarship, was awarded to Rae Chye from Art Center College of Design.


The Social Relevance category, with a $5000 scholarship, was awarded to SuSun Kwak from Art Center College of Design.


The prestigious Stephanie Tarr Award, with a $5000 scholarship, was awarded to Angela Hickman from California State University Long Beach.

The awards will be formally presented at the 29th Annual IIDA Calibre Design Awards on Friday, May 19th 2017.

Edgardo Caceres and Jessica Collins, IIDA SoCal’s VP’s of Students Affairs, thank the host, Judges, students, sponsors and volunteers for helping to make this a memorable event.

Event Sponsors:
Alur Walls – Mark Clark
Environmental Contracting Corp – Aram Arakelian
Shaw Contract –  Kimberly Johnson
Steelcase – Stephanie Martinez, IIDA

What We Can Learn from Students


The IIDA student competitions are educational experiences…but for whom? In the several years I have been involved in the fascinating process of judging student charrette and portfolio competitions, I’m the lucky beneficiary of free education. In the same way that students stand on our shoulders as they emerge into the professional world, we in turn stand on theirs. By immersing into the student experience, we glimpse something different, we are exposed to new ideas, we see new processes, we learn where we are going, like it or not. And make no mistake, it’s a two-way street, we see breath-taking blunders and amazing head-slappers, both by the students and their mentors. But each of those is a teachable moment, a chance to learn what to avoid, or how to help steer a proper course. The other great dividend is the chance that the job applicant you are about to interview is someone with whose work you are already familiar, and whose presentation in the heat of battle you have already witnessed. What a unique and enviable advantage. Students, were you aware when the audition process actually started? Now you know. Thank you, IIDA, for my continuing education. Couldn’t have done it without you.

Scott Johnson, IIDA, IALD, CID, LEED®AP
Wolcott Architecture | Interiors

Pauline Cheng: IIDA Student Awards Program Recipient

Pauline Cheng, Project Manager, Design & Construction, Corporate Real Estate Division of Warner Bros.
Pauline Cheng, Project Manager, Design & Construction, Corporate Real Estate Division of Warner Bros.

At this year’s Calibre Awards, we will be celebrating the history, legacy and success of our SoCal Student Awards Program. Pauline Cheng, IIDA Student Awards Program Recipient, tells us in her own words how the Awards program impacted her design career.

When I received the Student Award, I was in the process of changing careers. I originally moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school in Organizational Psychology. After a few years, I became dissatisfied and started exploring other career options (The term ‘quarter-life crisis’ hadn’t been invented yet, but I was having one!).

When I started studying Interior Design at UCLA Extension, I was working full time, taking design classes at night and spending my weekends doing homework. The Student Award provided the first real validation that my decision to try this new career was a good one. It also provided some breathing room for me financially, which was a huge relief. It took a long time to complete my design education. Receiving the Award was a great motivator to keep on going!

Project by Beckson Design Associates, Los Angeles
Project by Beckson Design Associates, Los Angeles

The Award also introduced me to IIDA events where I was able to meet people working in the industry. Those connections led to my first internship at a furniture showroom, and eventually to my first design job with Beckson Design Associates.

Today as a Project Manager at Warner Bros., I’m still friends with and work with people I met through IIDA in those early days.

Congratulations to 25 years of the IIDA SoCal Chapter Student Program!

The success of our SoCal Student Awards Program relies on the support of our design community. Join us at this year’s Calibre Awards as we celebrate this program and the people that have made it happen over the years.

2012 Student Awards Competition Winners and Recap

On March 10th, Students and Industry Professionals came together for the annual IIDA Student Awards Competition held at the newly revamped Haworth showroom. Students from several schools throughout Southern California presented their best work to an esteemed panel of Senior Designers and Industry Partners vying for scholarships ranging from $2500 to $5000 each in prize winnings. The event showcased the range of talented students from concise presentation skills to well thought out project boards. The open presentation format allowed students to view each other’s work and gain insight to what other schools and programs are doing.

I know when I was a student, I felt somewhat in a “studio” bubble immersed only in the world of my school’s program. Students who participated in the event found the open format style refreshing, allowing them to see and learn what other students are doing, engage with other students who are in the same shoes as them, and share each other’s perspective on interior design.

Selecting the winners from this group of outstanding applicants was not an easy task for our panelists. After much discussion and without further a ado, we are pleased to present the 2012 IIDA Student Award winners:

Category: Social Relevance in Interior Design
First Place $5,000.00
Rommel R Ordoyo, University of California Los Angeles Extension / Cal Poly Pomona
Second Place $2,500.00
Yuriana E. Stransky, California State University Long Beach
Category: Innovation in Interior Design
First Place $5,000.00
Mariko Hamagami, Orange Coast College
Second Place $2,500.00
Kandy Hsiao-Ham Chang, California State University Long Beach

The event concluded with a mixer allowing students and Industry Professionals to interact and socialize after a long and exciting day. We thank all the participating schools and students along with our City Center volunteers for making the event a success.

For more photos of the event, click here to go to our flickr page.

A special thanks to Walt Cousineau and Haworth for generously sponsoring this event.

Edel Legaspi, IIDA
Director of Interiors


Student Awards Event March 10th

The 2011 student scholarship winners, accepting their awards at the Calibre Awards gala.

This year’s Student Awards program is shaping up to be really exciting!  We have received lots of great applications from some very talented students, vying for the $20,000 in scholarship funds we will offer this year through the IIDA SoCal Chapter Student Scholarship Program!

While the period for accepting applications has closed (if you missed it – sorry about that), you still may have an opportunity to participate.  Student presentations will take place on Saturday, March 10 at the newly remodeled Haworth showroom Santa Monica. If you’d like to meet students from around Southern California and check out their work you can join us following the presentations from 3:00pm – 4:00pm.  Please RSVP to vpstudents@iida-socal.com.

The Student Awards program is a great opportunity for the members of our industry to see what the next generation of designers is up to, and for students to meet professionals and form valuable relationships as they start their careers. In my case, after 35 years in the industry and as one of the Vice President’s of Student Affairs, I am very much looking forward to sharing my experiences with these new designers in Southern California.  It is always inspiring to work with students and see their fresh perspective on design and, really, the world.

Please help us spread the word about our event on March 10! Every year our jury is impressed by our student submissions.  This year promisses to be great, and I am looking forward to meeting our participants and seeing the next generation of great design!

David Fridlund, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP
Wirt Design Group