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Firm principal, Joanna Schmickel, was elevated into AIA’s College of Fellows this year for her mentorship work within the field of architecture. Election to the AIA’s College of Fellows is one of the highest individual honors that can be bestowed on members. Out of a total AIA membership of more than 94,000, only 3% carry this distinction. Elevation to the fellowship is given to architects with at least 10 years of AIA membership and those who have demonstrated influence in at least one of the following nomination categories: elevated the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession; promoted the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training, or practice; coordinated the building industry and the profession of architecture through leadership in the AIA or other related professional organizations; or advanced the living standards of people through an improved environment.
This year, the seven-member Jury of Fellows elevated 88 member-architects and two international architects.
Joanna was elevated for her mentorship work in the field of architecture. She saw a need for women and people of color in the profession and works to increase diversity in the design and construction industries. Her work as a mentor is seen in and out of the office, taking every chance to support those around her.
In partnership with the AIA|DC, Joanna has created and delivered multiple youth workshops for the Washington Architectural Foundation, led an Architecture in the Schools group, and was an inaugural creator of the Archi-Builder Studio, a program teaching students the design processes used by architects.
Her most notable accomplishment to the world of architectural mentorship is the creation of the Design Like A Girl (DLAG) Mentorship program with AIA|DC. DLAG pairs female design professionals with middle school girls, introducing them to the world of architecture and other STEM-related fields.
Joanna is the fourth principal at CGS Architects to receive the prestigious honor after co-founders Chris Graae in 2014 and David Cox in 1994 along with the late Jerrily Kress in 1996.