A Kean University architecture student has received a prestigious national scholarship for young Black designers for his creative vision and outstanding design.
Marquis Major, of Deer Park, New York, was awarded the National Rising Black Designer Scholarship from Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm. He was awarded a $1,000 scholarship toward tuition and books and has an opportunity for a future internship.
“Winning this scholarship will help me greatly in my career. Gensler is a globally renowned firm and being selected out of countless applicants will look fantastic on my resume,” Major said. “The field of architecture is a difficult profession, but winning this award has given me the confidence to trust my design ideas.”
“I am delighted that Marquis Major has been awarded the Gensler National Rising Black Designer Award,” said David Mohney, FAIA, dean of Michael Graves College. “Marquis is a talented student, and this award clearly recognizes his promise as a future professional. The award speaks to Kean’s leading reputation as a diverse institution.”
School of Public Architecture Lecturer Camille Sherrod helped develop Kean’s chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, which seeks to advance a more inclusive professional practice and assisted Michael Graves College students in applying for the award. She said the scholarship will give Major a career boost.
“From the perspective of validation, being selected as a winner of a national scholarship can go a long way in opening doors within the profession, a profession where Black men are largely absent,” Sherrod said.
Major’s interest in architecture began after a tragic event.
“Superstorm Sandy destroyed part of my childhood home so we were forced to renovate it. During the renovation, I started to become incredibly interested in architecture and design,” he said. “I was actually able to help with the redesign, which sparked my love for architecture.”
Major credits Kean’s faculty, including Sherrod, Assistant Professor Craig Konyk and Adjunct Professor Joy Siegel, for encouraging students to find their own creative style.
“They help us learn the ins and outs of design while also allowing us the freedom to test things out and make our own mistakes,” he said. “They also host seminars where guest speakers come to present, giving us access to a multitude of different design perspectives and showing us how versatile a design degree can be.”
After graduation, Major plans to work at an architecture firm and design projects that benefit his clients and communities as well.