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Recent Honors Graduate Named a Member of the 2020 National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Foundation Fellowship Inaugural Cohort

The era of COVID-19 has proven to be one of uncertainty. For college students and recent graduates, this means uncertainty around acquiring internships, work experience, and even jobs after graduation. 

With the help of the Ogden Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising, recent Ogden graduate and Stamps Scholar Malachi Pursley applied to and was selected as one of 30 architecture students to receive the National Organization of Minority Architects’ (NOMA) inaugural NOMA Foundation Fellowship (NFF) — a two-month virtual research fellowship hosted over the summer at leading architecture firms across the country where fellows engaged in design research and benefited from firm mentorship. 

Amidst COVID-19 and record unemployment, NFF provides professional experience to underrepresented students with the goal of keeping them engaged in the profession and providing a pipeline to eventual employment. In all recessions, minorities are often the most adversely impacted by job loss.

“Malachi took advantage of multiple opportunities that made him competitive for this prestigious fellowship, including an internship with an architectural firm in Houston and the LSU Architecture study abroad program in Paris.  These experiences were instrumental in focusing his interest in environmentally- and socially-conscious design, and he was proactive in scouting out even more opportunities to further his career goals, like the NOMA Fellowship.  In short, he did it right, and he utilized all of the Ogden Honors College resources to help him pursue his dreams.” says Dr. Drew Lamonica Arms, director of the Office of Fellowship Advising. 

Pursley applied for the NFF because NOMA supports minority architects and the fellowship offered a fantastic opportunity to work at an established firm and gain valuable professional experience that could lead to full-time employment. He also wanted to make connections in New York City, which is an established design market.

Pursley was most excited about being able to conduct research — something he had experience with from completing his Honors thesis, Integration of Location Based Social Networks in the Sense of Place (SOP) Mapping Techniques directed by Assistant Professor Traci Birch.

“The Honors College has given me a more holistic perspective of how I can use my education to fix social issues. Especially during a time where social justice is at the forefront of society, I feel that the Honors College helped me understand the systems that play into these issues and how I can use my profession to help,” he says. 

Pursley will be moving to NYC to work full time for Ennead Architects who hosted him virtually as a fellow for the summer through NOMA’s Foundation Fellowship program.  

The Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College

The Ogden Honors College, established in 1992, is a vibrant, diverse, and prestigious community for high-achieving students on LSU’s campus. The Ogden Honors College provides students — from all majors and senior colleges — with an opportunity to enhance their education through an interdisciplinary curriculum bolstered by service, leadership, fellowship, research, and study abroad opportunities.

Office of Fellowship Advising 

The Ogden Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising was created to assist students in applying for prestigious scholarships and fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Mitchell, Udall, Truman and Goldwater awards. Students interested in applying for these and other scholarship opportunities or for more information on the office, contact Drew Lamonica Arms, director of fellowship advising, at fellowships@lsu.edu.