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The American Institute of Architects Las Vegas Chapter’s Women in Architecture Committee hosted its 2nd Annual Women Building Nevada Symposium during Women’s History Month at the Blind Center of Nevada.
The mission of the symposium was to celebrate, elevate and acknowledge the women who make a different in the community and built environment through design, planning, construction, development, and public policy.
The symposium started with a video message from U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen about how federal policy such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making an impact at the local level and creating construction jobs. At the state level, the $500 million "Home Means Nevada" initiative is funding affordable housing new development and renovation projects across the state. She also shared about her career experience as a computer engineer before she ran for office.
The first panel “Planning and Vision” included four planning commissioners from jurisdictions in Southern Nevada:
- Marissa Guymon, Planning Commissioner for the City of North Las Vegas
- Serena Kasama, Planning Commissioner for the City of Las Vegas
- Jennifer Lewis, Planning Commissioner for the City of Henderson
- Leslie Mujica, Planning Commissioner for Clark County
The panel, moderated by Laura Jane Spina from RAFI Architecture, shared their vision on building a better community, providing more housing, and exciting development projects in each jurisdiction.
The breakout sessions included different career topics for professionals ranging from young professionals to principals. The Good Deed Project is AIA Las Vegas' nonprofit partner. Mandy Telleria, founder of The Good Deed Project, shared about the nonprofit’s mission and their continue effort in helping families to renovate their facilities.
The last panel “Historic Westside: Higher Education As A Catalyst For Redevelopment” focused on the redevelopment effort in Historic Westside.
The panelists included Sylvia Kim, AIA, AVP Facilities Management for the College of Southern Nevada (CSN), and Dr. Tammy Malich, City of Las Vegas Director of Youth Development and Social Initiatives. The panel showcased renderings of the new Historic Westside education and job training center designed by Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto. The facility is a partnership between the City of Las Vegas and CSN to assist residents with training and job replacement. The panel was moderated by Alexia Chen, AIA, Project Architect for LGA Architecture.
The symposium concluded with an award ceremony, honoring the following recipients:
Rising Star Award - Victoria Cousino, AIA
This award is given to a young woman in her early years of the profession who is growing in leadership through her professional roles and activities. The selection committee commented, "Victoria is amazing to work with and great at coordinating with design consultants which helps make for a smoother design process. She cares about what she is doing, is active in the community, participated in the Affordable Housing Charrette, and currently serves on the AlA Las Vegas Board of Directors."
Community Builder - Coffee Polk, AIA
This award is given to a woman in the industry who is inspirational to the profession. The selection committee commented, "She didn't start out in architecture, but that's where she ended up. She is dedicated to improving our professional community through her work with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, on the NCARB Board Governance Task Force, and in her support of emerging young people of color in the profession."
Women in Architecture Ally Award - George M Rogers, AIA
This award is given to anyone in the industry who demonstrates continued support for women's inclusion and promotion in the workplace. The selection committee commented, "This principal architect has supported the women in his office through mentoring and promotions and has provided great support and guidance for women business owners through his sage advice and kind words."
A special award was given to Kelly Lavigne, Director of Operations at AIA Las Vegas, for her 26 years of service in building the the organization.
Representatives from the following offices presented certificates to award recipients: U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Congresswoman Susie Lee, Congresswoman Dina Titus, and Congressman Steven Horsford.