Student Named Winner of Prestigious Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship
Erin Collins, an interior design student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was named the first prize winner of the 2015 Brinkmann Scholarship given annually by Gensler, one of the largest design firms in the world. This summer, Collins will participate in an internship at one of Gensler’s 46 offices. Sara Willhoite, a student at the University of Cincinnati received second prize.
“The next wave of interior designers will enter a complex, dynamic and increasingly design-centric world that demands more sophistication than ever,” said Robin Klehr Avia, regional managing principal for Gensler’s Northeast and Latin America regions (and also a graduate of the University of Tennessee). “The Brinkmann Scholarship allows Gensler to identify and encourage the very best emerging talent and help them meet the challenges of tomorrow. We are impressed by Erin and Sara and look forward to seeing them grow professionally.”
Collins’ winning project, completed during a study abroad semester in Helsinki, Finland, redesigned a museum, café, and makerspace for both visitors and local artisans. The selection committee was impressed by her overall professionalism, spatially rich designs, and ability to work simultaneously between the scales of interiors and architecture. Willhoite’s submission was also extremely well-informed. By mapping different user groups for a consumer-facing retail space, she created a physical presence that embodied the essence of the overarching brand.
“As a growing designer, I continually strive to cross boundaries and develop new ways of thinking,” said Collins. “Working with Gensler, a firm dedicated to both design as a whole and the integration of many disciplines, is a great way to take my development to the next level.”
The Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship Fund was established in 1999 as a memorial to Donald G. Brinkmann, a gifted interior designer, inspirational leader and former partner at Gensler. The scholarship fund celebrates Brinkmann’s career-long commitment to nurturing new design talent by presenting outstanding interior design students with an internship and a financial award to be applied to their final year of school. Candidates for the scholarship must attend a CIDA-accredited school and are evaluated based upon their analysis and problem solving skills, design development, graphic presentation, communication skills and passion.
See Collins’ award-winning video entry: