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News Bites: Pair of MArch Students Awarded Merit-Based Scholarships

Posted October 5, 2015 in StudentNews BitesMaster of Architecture

Though the students in the inaugural cohort of KCAD's Master of Architecture (MArch) program come from a diverse mix of institutional and disciplinary backgrounds, Program Director Brian Craig feels they’ve developed a very powerful and positive studio culture, and industry professionals agree.

Students Anne Schnitzenbaumer and Courtney Vallier have both been awarded scholarships from the Michigan Architectural Foundation (MAF). These merit-based scholarships are highly competitive, as only seven are awarded each year. Rachel Crane, a 2015 graduate of Ferris State University’s undergraduate Architecture program, also received an MAF scholarship, bringing the total number awarded to Ferris and KCAD to more than any other of Michigan’s five professional architecture programs.

KCAD MArch studentsStudents from the inaugural cohort of KCAD's MArch program, including Anne Schnitzenbaumer (front row, center) and Courtney Vallier (back row, center)

MAF scholarships are open to any architecture student in Michigan. Application requirements include a portfolio of work and a personal statement describing leadership, design, or community accomplishments.

“Anne and Courtney were both outstanding undergraduate students, so it’s no surprise that they’ve quickly become leaders both inside our program and out in the community,” says Craig. “These are motivated, creative people, and they really care about the program. They want to support keeping this culture going.”

In her personal statement, Schnitzenbaumer, who as an undergrad was Ball State University’s Provost Graduate of the Year, pointed to her childhood passion for discovery and her desire to become a humanitarian architect and designer.

"It is an incredible honor to be recognized throughout the entire state of Michigan for my academic, professional, and leadership achievements. To me, it is not only a reflection of myself but of the continual support of the design community of Michigan towards KCAD and our new program,” said Schnitzenbaumer. “I cannot claim the honor only as mine because many mentors, teachers, and peers have nurtured my talents and helped them to really flourish."

Vallier, an alumna of both Ferris State University’s undergraduate Architecture and Construction Management programs, focused her personal statement on how a chance encounter with architecture growing up fostered a passion for design, problem solving, and learning new things.

“This scholarship to me was far more rewarding than just the financials; it was an opportunity to represent our great program and form a relationship with the outstanding firm Harley-Ellis Deveraux,” said Vallier. “The encouragement and care they showed for me as a student and the interest in my studies gave me great motivation to keep pushing forward in this profession. I feel privileged to have had this great experience and honored to represent all parties involved.”

Schnitzenbaumer was also recently awarded a scholarship from the Grand Rapids chapter of the American Institute of Architects, while Vallier received an additional scholarship from the Construction Specifications Institute.

“The comments and recognition our students and our program have received from outside sources show that the work we’re doing can stand up to work being done anywhere,” says Craig.