SDAF + The NewSchool Foundation























Pillars Scholarship Recipients Stand Tall

On April 22, the 2020 recipients will present their work and the call for applicants for 2021 will be announced. In anticipation of that, we’re taking the time to celebrate the Pillars Scholarship program, an important collaboration between the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) and The NewSchool Foundation. 

Funded by the NewSchool Foundation in partnership with SDAF, the Pillars Scholarship is $6,000 in total award money allocated to a group of accomplished students enrolled at The NewSchool of Architecture & Design every year. To be eligible for the awards, undergraduates must maintain a 3.3 GPA, and graduate students a 3.5 GPA. SDAF allots $3,000 to the program annually, and The NewSchool Foundation matches it. 

SDAF is a proud backer of the Pillars Scholarships for several reasons, especially because the scholarships reflect SDAF’s mission to inspire San Diegans to see the value of the built environment. Pillars recipients undertake extracurricular activities during the summer quarter that meet the four pillars of human welfare, professional practice, environmental empathy, and/or data and technology.

“We are proud to support Pillars Scholarships and the work of accomplished design students,” says SDAF Board Member Kevin deFreitas. “The program brings to the forefront the amazing achievements of San Diego architecture and design students, showcasing their unique talents as they prepare to become part of the next generation of design professionals. When they present their work on April 22, they’ll have a great opportunity to connect with professionals in the industry and impress their future peers and colleagues.”

In 2020, Pillars Scholarships were awarded to five recipients, and anyone who registers for the April 22 event will see their work firsthand. Among them are: Nazanin Ziasabounchi, who researched the role of smart phones on public spaces in San Diego after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic; Martín Polanco, who investigated the typology of pavilions as space and interaction generators throughout California; Samantha Saltzman, who continued her thesis work of re-strategizing the urban transit networks of several border counties in Southern California and Mexico; Antoinette Van Sluytman, a graphic design major who is completing the first draft of her novel; and her sister, Aubree Rose Van Sluytman, a media graphic design major who is producing a full animation short film to promote diversity in the industry.

In addition to the Pillars scholarship funds, SDAF will allocate an additional $2,000 toward scholarships in 2021, says deFreitas, who sits on SDAF’s Scholarship Committee. And while the Pillars program supports undergraduate and graduate students, SDAF is looking to support other age groups through its awards as well. Another example of this on-going commitment is the partnership between SDAF and SDNOMA, the San Diego Chapter of the National Organization of Minorty Architects. During our 2020 Orchids & Onions program SDAF partnered with non-profit giving platform to raise over $7,500 for SDNOMA to create their own scholarship opportunities for minority students studying the built environment.

As SDAF’s commitment to the Pillars Scholarships show, “we’re excited to invest in up-and-comers and students with potential,” deFreitas says. “The road to an architecture career can be arduous. This field is very much about intergenerational success, mentorship, and identifying and promoting talent. Each generation is obligated to pass on information and experience to the next one.”

Really want to see what the Pillars Scholarships are all about? Register for the virtual 2020 Pillars Scholarship presentations on April 22.

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San Diego Architectural Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to education and promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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