Mar 15th 2021

Video | Building Diversity in Professional Practice and Licensure


On Wednesday, February 24, the College of Architecture hosted its first panel discussion of the spring 2021 semester titled “Building Diversity in Professional Practice and Licensure.”

The panel was moderated by Kim Dowdell, a Chicago-based architect, real estate developer, and educator. Originally from Detroit, Dowdell is currently a principal at HOK's Chicago studio and was the 2019–2020 national president of the National Organization of Minority Architects, where she more than doubled the organization’s membership. Dowdell also co-founded the Social Economic Environmental Design Network, which is dedicated to advancing the right of every person to live in a socially, economically, and environmentally healthy community.

Joining Dowdell was Michael Armstrong, Renée Byng Yancey, and Ryan Gann (B.ARCH. ’14).

Armstrong is chief executive officer of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Additionally, he volunteers on the board of directors for the Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards (FARB). Prior to joining NCARB in 2011, Armstrong held senior positions at the International Code Council, ICF International, FEMA, and the Colorado Governor's Office of Energy Conservation.

Yancey is managing director of equity, diversity, and inclusion development and workforce strategy at the American Institute of Architects, where she works to advance internal efforts for staff as well as externally facing equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategic priorities. In addition to her externally facing efforts, Yancey partners with colleagues across the AIA working at the intersections of equitable communities, climate action, brand and engagement, and government advocacy.

Gann is an associate at Ross Barney Architects and serves as the chair of the AIA’s Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee as well as an at-large member on the national board of directors. Previously, he served as a member of the National Architectural Accrediting Board and on the national board of directors of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). A College of Architecture alumnus, Gann once served as director of the college’s AIAS chapter.

Student leaders Nimah Mohiuddin (B.ARCH. 4th Year), Moid Ali (B.ARCH. 3rd Year), and Tiffany Chang (B.ARCH. 4th Year), from the IIT College of Architecture’s National Organization of Minority Architecture Students chapter lead a Q&A session following the panelists discussion.