CAPLA Undergraduate Architecture Student Wins AIAS Chapter Leader Honor Award
Ally Kwan ’23 B Arch has been awarded the 2021 Chapter Leader Honor Award from the national American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) organization.
Kwan, the 2020-2021 president of the University of Arizona AIAS chapter housed within the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, is one of only three students nationwide selected for the prestigious award.
For the second year in a row, the UArizona AIAS chapter has also been honored by AIAS National. In 2020, the student chapter was recognized for its outstanding service with the 2020 AIAS Honor Award, the highest honor the national organization can bestow upon a chapter. For 2021, the UArizona chapter received an Honorable Mention, second only to the AIAS chapter at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
“The AIAS prides itself on its resiliency and the awards this year showcased just that—the dedication and hard work of our members during these challenging times,” says AIAS National Vice President Sara Taketatsu.
Under Kwan’s leadership, the UArizona AIAS chapter sponsored several activities aimed at connecting architecture students with fellow students, faculty and professionals—no easy task when students were predominantly working remotely due to the pandemic. Their activities included a How to Survive Architecture School panel co-hosted with other CAPLA student organizations, Take Out By Design fundraising and networking event with AIA Southern Arizona, the Wellness Series for current CAPLA students, architecture firm tours, technology workshops, an annual portfolio workshop and the chapter’s popular student mentorship program.
“AIAS helped me grow as a student and find my voice as a student leader,” says Kwan. “Receiving this award confirms the value of the hard work that I and my fellow AIAS student leaders put into the organization and the college. It also means a great deal to me personally. I am honored and humbled.”
“Ally really stepped up for our AIAS chapter and the student body during our time of need,” says Oscar Lopez, senior lecturer in architecture and AIAS faculty advisor. “She is a selfless leader who has made a lasting impact not only for our AIAS chapter but also for those she has inspired. That is the true definition of what a leader should be—someone who creates and provides opportunities for positive change in others, and Ally has been doing that since day one.”
“While Ally’s success was in part a product of the chapter’s existing strength, she really leveraged existed programs to be much stronger and more impactful,” says Robert Miller, director of the UArizona School of Architecture. “More importantly, she responded to the pandemic with passion, creativity and collaboration. She looked around, saw what was needed and galvanized her colleagues to deliver it.”