Architecture senior at MSU receives national Rising Black Designer Scholarship


Contact: Christie McNeal

Portrait of Alysia Williams
Alysia E. Williams (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State architecture student is one of 10 students from across the nation receiving a 2022 Gensler Rising Black Designers Micro-Scholarship.

Senior Alysia E. Williams of Kennesaw, Georgia, is being honored with the award that MSU School of Architecture Director Karen Cordes Spence said is a great reflection on the school and demonstrates that MSU architecture students compete well at the national level.

“Being recognized as rising talent in the field of architecture is a significant achievement, and Alysia is well-deserving of this,” said Spence, who also is MSU’s F.L. Crane Professor. “I’m thrilled for her, as she has earned this with her academic and research accomplishments. She will be a strong asset to any firm and has an amazing career ahead of her.”

Williams said she had been concerned about her upcoming fifth-year of studies since many scholarships do not carry over for five years, despite the extended studio requirements for the professional architecture degree.

“Receiving this national scholarship is a blessing to me,” she said. “This was a big confidence booster and a reminder that you don’t know until you try. It also inspires me to value and gain more knowledge regarding the act of outreach in the pursuit of equitable, diverse and inclusionary design.”

In addition to working part time as an architectural intern for Method Studio architecture firm in Salt Lake City, Utah, Williams served as a teacher assistant this past year, mentoring first-year students. She also worked as a research assistant for two different professors last spring, with one of the projects continuing through the summer.

Upon graduation, she plans to continue to work for a firm that specializes in affordable housing, community master planning, and civic and atmospheric design. She aspires to form a non-profit firm to serve populations who are directly affected by the nation’s growing housing crisis.

Gensler, a global architecture, design, and planning firm, launched the Rising Black Designers Scholarship + Design Challenge in 2020 to support talented, underrepresented Black design students enrolled in U.S. not-for-profit architecture programs. The micro-scholarships are intended to supplement studio materials and books. The annual program also awards tuition scholarships and summer internship opportunities.

MSU’s School of Architecture offers the state’s only professional architecture degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Learn more at www.caad.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.



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