July 26, 2013 UT Architecture Students, Alumni Featured at AIAS Grassroots Leadership Conference

Nearly a dozen University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students are attending the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Grassroots Leadership Conference this week, July 25-28, in Alexandria, VA. Students will be learning about professional development, gain insights about Freedom by Design, a community service organization that helps low-income and disabled individuals, and learn how to manage their collegiate chapters – UT has one of the most active AIAS chapters in the nation.

Held annually, Grassroots has been shaping future design leaders for 28 years. One such leader is Brent Castro, a 2012 graduate. For the past year he has served as the National President of AIAS and the National Student Director of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). Through his new life in Washington, D.C., and role as an AIAS and ACSA board member, Castro has become a national voice for architecture students and is assisting change in architectural education.


Distinguished Professor Marleen Davis, FAIA, who is serving a two year term as the ACSA liaison of the AIAS Board of Directors, shared this picture (right) of Castro making his final remarks with outgoing AIAS President Matt Barstow on July 25. Castro ends his term this July with bright prospects on the horizon.

Other “emerging professionals” featured at Grassroots are recent alumni Daniel Pering, Fleming Smith, Dianna Osickey, Emily Haire, and Ryan Bryant. The work of these former bachelor of architecture students is showcased in the 2013 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Center for Emerging Professionals Annual Exhibition. According to the AIA, the “exhibition promotes the compelling work of the rising generation of architects and designers and inspires professionals to continue to mentor and engage the many talented and motivated emerging professionals across the country.”

The construction and design work of UT AIAS Freedom by Design Project Manager Matt Barnett is also receiving attention. On July 26, Barnett will speak about his experiences with Freedom by Design. The UT chapter has produced two projects for Knoxville families – a 2013 remodel of the home of a mother and daughter with disabilities and the design of a ramp for a special-needs child in 2012. Pictures from this year’s build:

[showcase id=”2430″]

To learn more about the AIAS Grassroots Leadership Conference, visit their website.

Information about the UT Chapter of AIAS is available here. Updates about student organizations of the UT College of Architecture and Design will occur at the new student section of the college’s website.