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AIA Iowa Presents College of Design Students with Excellence Awards

Wednesday, May 20, 2015  

AIA Iowa Presents College of Design Students with Excellence Awards

Des Moines, IA (May 13, 2015)  On April 17, 2015 the American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter (AIA Iowa) had the pleasure of awarding four Iowa State University students certificates and medals of honor for their accomplishments within the Bachelor and Master programs of Architecture. The AIA Medals are awarded to the student with the highest cumulative GPA in the accredited programs and the certificates are presented to those with the second-highest ranking. This year’s winners are: Bobbi Jo Reiff, Undergraduate Certificate, Lana Zoet, Graduate Certificate, Eric Neuhaus, Undergraduate Medal, and Michael Spory, Graduate Medal.


“I feel extremely honored to have received such a prestigious award.  Viewing Iowa State as a clean slate when I arrived, it challenged me to push forward with every ounce of determination and dedication I had. It means so much to receive an award that is based upon five years of consistency.  This would not have been possible without all the amazing faculty and classmates who surrounded me,” said Eric Neuhaus, Undergraduate Medal winner.


“I am truly honored with this award and very grateful for the support of so many talented and generous colleagues, professors, and fellow students here at Iowa State. While this award represents personal achievement, I'm so thankful and indebted to my fellow designers . . . In the future, I can only hope to share a small portion of the generosity I have received through this award and what it represents,” said Michael Spory, Graduate Medal winner.


“There is an incredibly high level of design excellence present within Iowa. I have been honored and empowered through the opportunities and recognition I have received from AIA Iowa and Iowa State University. I am inspired and excited to go forth into the profession with BNIM Architects, a leader in design and sustainability, and through my work enhance the lives of people and the condition of our planet,” said Lana Zoet, Graduate Certificate winner. Zoet was also the recipient of the Alan Kimball Book Award.


The Iowa State University College of Design presented additional awards at the ceremony to architecture students.


Megan Fowler, recipient of the Graduate Assistant Award for Extraordinary Performance, said, “Since starting at Iowa State, I have had so many incredible opportunities thanks to the help and support of the faculty.  I am honored to receive an award in recognition of the work I have done.  This award and the experiences I have had at Iowa State have given me a jump start into the professional world and I am looking forward to my final year at ISU and to starting my career in architecture.”


Rachel Johnson, winner of a Central Iowa Chapter CSI Scholarship Award, said, “The CSI Award is meaningful in a way that it acknowledges the hard work and dedication that my professors, partners and I have collectively put in not only for one semester's studio, but for the past five years. The award has made me that much more confidant in my skills as a critical thinker and designer as I continue my path in the field.”


Mohammed Khesroh, winner of a Central Iowa Chapter CSI Scholarship Award, said, “Winning the competition, other than being a self-satisfying experience, it was also clear proof of what could be achieved if we push further every second, beyond any known measure at the time. The ending result was proof that through hard, diligent and thoughtful sensitive work we could achieve better projects that explore our current state of architecture and propose a solution that would speak of the beautiful possibilities in our future in Architecture.”


Jill Maltby, winner of a Central Iowa Chapter CSI Scholarship Award and the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, said, “These honors represent the best of what I’ve experienced at a leading department of architecture. All of the encouragement, at Iowa State and among the professionals of the Des Moines architecture community, has instilled a confidence to know that I can succeed in this profession. This confidence is hugely important as I take on my next step as an Intern Architect following graduation.”


Gladys Salazar, winner of a Central Iowa Chapter CSI Scholarship Award, said, “I'm very pleased and proud to receive this award. It was a great learning opportunity . . . This exercise of working with a team under the guidance of a great professor, Mitchell Squire, was fantastic. Once again, I am very thankful.”


Kyle Vansice, recipient of the ARCC King Medal, said, “I am honored to win this award, specifically because it's concerned with research - something I find to be important in architectural education. Success in architecture is dependent upon the ability to reach out to other fields to draw inspiration . . . I want to thank the architecture program here at Iowa State as well as my professors for encouraging and supporting me in this endeavor.”


Connor Yocum, recipient of the Leonard Wolf Leadership Award, said, “I am honored to have received the Leonard Wolf Leadership Award. As I look at those who have been recognized with the same award before me, I am inspired by their commitment and passion. This award encourages me to continue to put forth a level of dedication and effort that is worthy of such an honor.” 


Architecture students Yan Chen, Nicolas Cross, Matthew Darmour-Paul, Anthony Gonzalez, Jacob Halverson, Shuaibu Kenchi, Han Kwon, Kevin Stomert, Dandi Zhang, and Lola Zheng Liu  also won awards during the College of Design Awards Day.


Since 1857, the American Institute of Architects has represented the professional interests of America's architects. AIA Iowa, headquartered in Des Moines, is a statewide affiliate of the national AIA. AIA Iowa members express their commitment to excellence in design and are proactive in the design of livable communities. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public, and colleagues of an AIA member architect's dedication to the highest standards in professional practice. For more information, go to or call 515.244.7502.

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For interviews or pictures, please contact Jessica Reinert at AIA Iowa, (515) 244-7502, or e-mail her at

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