Article Number: 15885
IFDA Educational Foundation Student Scholarship Winners for 2019
NEW BERN, N.C., July 25, 2019 – The Educational Foundation (EF) of IFDA, the International Furnishings and Design Association, is pleased to announce its design student scholarship winners for 2019. Since the early years of this 72-year-old global design industry alliance, EF has awarded scholarships to high-achieving design students. This year the seven scholarship winners received a total of $13,500.

“We are so pleased to award scholarships to these talented individuals who are emerging in the design and furnishings industry,” said Merry Mabbett Dean, FIFDA, Chairman of the Board of the Educational Foundation of IFDA. “We continue to be committed to improving our industry by supporting students and enhancing public awareness through educational and philanthropic programs. Congratulations to the winners!”

Applicants must be currently enrolled and scholarships are paid to the school for the 2019 fall semester tuition. The seven scholarship winners all share a passion for making the world a better place. They are as follows:

Sarah Rosenthal of Washington State University won the IFDA Leaders Commemorative Scholarship for $1,500 open to undergraduate students. A Seattle native, Rosenthal is pursuing a degree in Interior Design and minors in Fine Arts and Construction Management. In her own words, “She is a voracious learner, a dedicated craftswoman, and is committed to creating an extraordinary life for herself and for those around her, one characterized by gratitude for gifts of all sizes: from exceptional things like receiving this honor from IFDA, to just having 10 working fingers and toes.”

The Part-Time Student Scholarship for $1,500 open to undergraduate students was awarded to Pei Yao Huang of Eastern Michigan University. Huang is currently obtaining her second bachelor’s degree majoring in Interior Design after 30 years of working for corporations. Huang is married with two children and with her new career in interior design she demonstrates that it is “never too late to pursue what you love.” Her organization and prioritization skills have served her well in her new endeavor, where she acts as a role model to fellow students.

Megan York of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design was the winner of the Verceille Voss IFDA Graduate Student Scholarship for $2,000 open to graduate students. She is pursuing a master’s in Architecture. She is involved in several organizations, including PennDesign Women in Architecture, PennDesign’s architecture journal Babble and Design in Latin America. Before attending the University of Pennsylvania, York received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture summa cum laude from Ball State University. She is currently working as a summer architectural design intern in the office of renowned architect Mark Foster Gage in New York City.

Jonathan Parris of the University of California, Davis, won the Ruth Clark Furniture Design Scholarship for $3,000 open to undergraduate or graduate students. With a background as a furniture designer and woodworker, he is currently pursuing an MFA in Design. His interests revolve around furniture and its arrangement in space; and how both together can affect communication and dictate control or equality amongst people and groups in that space.

Parris is intrigued by the juxtaposition between examples like the Camden bench in London, which limits how a user can behave in a public space, compared with the arrangement of benches in a Quaker worship hall, which are placed in an ever-widening square that belies a singular (pulpit) focus and its concomitant patriarchy. For his MFA thesis, Parris will be looking at furniture in Peace Rooms, which are spaces for restorative justice. He will design and build non-hierarchical furniture to promote increased understanding, communication and hopefully, peace between diverse groups of people.

Alayne Chipman of the University of Idaho was named the winner of the IFDA Philadelphia Scholarship for $2,500, open to two- three- or four-year undergraduates. The focus rotates annually and this year’s focus was interior design. Chipman is entering her fifth year of the seamless Bachelor of Interior Architecture and Design/Master of Architecture. She is currently completing a summer graduate studio in Edinburgh, Scotland and London, England with an emphasis on green and sustainable design.

She says, “Because of IFDA's generosity, I have been able to fund this trip which has made an immeasurable impact on my education and future career goals. After graduation I intend to join a globally-minded design firm that employs both interior designers and architects… A main goal of mine is to join a historic preservation society and work to preserve and restore historic civic buildings while also implementing the reuse of materials and green building for new sites and adaptive reuse projects.”

Pao-yi Warner of the New York School of Interior Design won the Tricia LeVangie Green/Sustainable Design Scholarship for $1,500 open to full- or part-time undergraduate or graduate students. “I am so thrilled to be selected for such an honorable award,” shares Warner. She is a third-year graduate student.

After living and volunteering in Africa post-undergrad, she realized her passion not only lay in the creative arts but also in the need to positively impact people. It was from these experiences that she began to recognize the need for practical and reliable infrastructure as a global concern. She pursued the architecture and interior design industry to become part of the solution by promoting innovative design ideas to improve human health, productivity and overall welfare. She has developed a strong passion for sustainable design and aspires to achieve the LEED AP BD+C and Well AP certification upon graduation. Warner is determined to become a catalyst for sustainable design and emerge as an industry leader.

Lizette Gonzalez at Texas State University was awarded the Window Fashion Certified Professionals for Certified Professionals Fast Track Scholarship for $1,000 (one full registration) that is open to design students. “A passion of mine is understanding people and how different we all are,” says Gonzalez. “My goal is to curate and design spaces for the masses. I plan to earn my bachelor’s in Interior Design and design for nonprofit organizations, transforming spaces for those whose overall health can benefit from their surroundings the most.”

IFDA Educational Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt, 501c(3) organization. It’s scholarships support both full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of interior, green/sustainable, product and textile design. In addition, 13 grants support professional development opportunities for IFDA members and other design industry professionals as well as needed resources for design schools. For more information, visit: and follow us on and

Sarah Rosenthal

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