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AIA Indianapolis Hosts Various Outreach Initiatives at Monthly Event

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Members of AIA Indianapolis recently gathered at Ball State University’s CAP:INDY office to hear fellow professionals discuss outreach initiatives for young architects. Presenting at this event were Ashley Thornberry of the Young Architect Forum (YAF), Brandon Farley of the Indiana High School Architectural Design Competition (IHSADC), Daniel Brueggert of the Indiana Architectural Foundation (IAF) and Vanessa Shumate of ACE Mentorship. For these speakers, the event was a chance to highlight past accomplishments of their organizations while introducing new initiatives in the hope that their presentations increase awareness and inspire engagement from fellow professionals.

“I think we kind of fly under the radar,” Brueggert said. “I’m always curious just how familiar people are with the IAF.”

Brueggert used his speaking opportunity to educate the audience about IAF’s new online database that provides information about various Indiana buildings. He describes the database as a “best of” list that features new and old buildings that are significant for different reasons. The list includes structures such as Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Indiana State Library and the Coca-Cola Bottling Building.

“We have 50 buildings on the website right now, and the hope is that the IAF board will continue to add buildings to that list each year,” Brueggert said.

He also said the IAF wants to solicit suggestions for new additions to the database from non-members.

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Similar to Brueggert, Shumate saw this event as a chance to gain exposure for her organization and increase participation among local professionals.

“I hope to leave with a big sign-up sheet of people who either want to mentor or know people who want to mentor,” she said.

At ACE Mentorship, construction professionals help mentor high school students who are interested in working in the industry. More than 10,000 students participate in this program annually, coming from approximately 1,100 high schools. After learning lessons about the industry from current professionals, over 70 percent of these high school seniors go on to work in a skilled trade program or attend college with an industry-related major.

ACE is not the only organization that works with high school students to prepare them for a successful career. The Indiana High School Architectural Design Competition, which started in 1971, is a statewide architectural design competition for Indiana high school students. As the Chairman of IHSADC, Farley spoke to AIA members about the competition’s history and its mission to help students become better professionals.This year’s competition is scheduled for May 1st.

“I’ve always been passionate about mentoring and education,” Farley said. “So, this is a great opportunity to let everyone know that this event is happening.”

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Another organization represented in this panel that assists aspiring professionals is the Young Architects Forum. Thornberry, who is the Emerging Professional Liaison for YAF, spoke to AIA members about the committee’s history and its recent initiatives. YAF represents architects who received licensure within the last 10 years and through social events, competitions and other programs, the group prepares young architects for eventual leadership roles in the industry.

“I think this is a great way to kick off the year,” Thornberry said. “Having four local organizations that are heavily involved with not only the architecture profession, but the community, and hearing what they do to give back, is really valuable.”

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