Oriana Gil-Perez, a member of our architecture studio, has been involved in NOMA since she was an undergraduate student at Arizona State University. She and some classmates founded a student organization called LASO (Latinx Architecture Student Organization). A few years in, the group was approached by alumni who were involved in NOMA, who began to serve as professional chapter mentors. Oriana soon became a student founder/supporter of the first NOMA Arizona chapter.
“Our relationship supported each other,” Oriana said. “They provided mentorship to our students and we hosted events and opportunities where people could connect and exchange ideas and achieve our goals of embracing our cultures and who we are.”
As a student, Oriana participated in job search seminars, a symposium on Designing while being Latinx, and NOMA Arizona’s first annual Home Cooking Away from Home, in which NOMA members hosted area college students for a homecooked meal.
During her master’s program, Oriana was selected to receive NOMA Arizona’s John Williams Scholarship. She also presented at the National NOMA Conference in 2021, sharing her thesis research on best practices for impacting communities in other countries by partnering with locals and establishing relationships of trust and knowledge exchange.
Since coming to Ayers Saint Gross full-time, Oriana has remained involved in NOMA and recently participated in Project Pipeline, a program in which volunteered shared concepts of design with K-12 students in Arizona.
“Many students mentioned they never thought about becoming a designer or even going to school until they had these activities where we would draw, paint, and model spaces for students with their ideas near their schools,” Oriana said. “This event is proof that representation matters, specifically for youth.”