Architecture Senior at MSU Receives National Rising Black Designer Fellowship


Contact person: Christie McNeal

Alysia E. Williams (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi — A Mississippi State architecture student is one of 10 students nationwide to receive a 2022 Gensler Rising Black Designers Micro-Scholarship.

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

“Being recognized as a rising talent in the field of architecture is a significant achievement, and Alysia well deserves it,” said Spence, who is also an FL Crane Professor at MSU. “I’m thrilled for her, because she earned it through her academic and research achievements. She will be a great asset to any company and has an incredible career ahead of her. »

Williams said she was worried about her upcoming fifth year of study because many scholarships don’t extend for five years, despite extended studio requirements for the professional architecture degree.

“Receiving this national scholarship is a blessing for me,” she said. “It 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 awareness in the pursuit of design. fair, diverse and inclusive.

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

After graduating, she plans to continue working for a company specializing in affordable housing, community master planning, and civic and atmospheric design. She aspires to form a non-profit enterprise to serve populations who are directly affected by the growing housing crisis in the country.

Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm, has launched the Rising Black Designers Scholarship + Design Challenge in 2020 to support talented and underrepresented Black design students enrolled in U.S. nonprofit architecture programs. Micro-grants are intended to supplement studio equipment and books. The annual program also awards scholarships and summer internship opportunities.

MSU’s School of Architecture offers the only professional architecture degree in the state accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Learn more about

MSU is the main university in Mississippi, available online at


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