July 10, 2023

The AIAS Honor Awards were developed to publicly recognize outstanding achievements by students, educators, and practitioners who have exhibited an exemplary commitment to the education and development of architecture students. Each year the AIAS honors individuals and groups for their exemplary work in areas such as leadership, collaboration, design, scholarship, and service. Winners will be announced in Fall 2023 and celebrated at FORUM 2024.

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) is pleased to announce a jury with diverse expertise for the 2023 AIAS National Honor Awards. The jury will be chaired by Nicole Bass, AIAS, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, and includes:

Nicole Bass, AIAS, Assoc. AIA, NOMA (she/her/hers)

Nicole Bass is the Past National Vice President of the AIAS. She’s a graduate of CUNY City College of New York and holds a Bachelors in Architecture degree. While at CCNY, she served in various leadership roles in AIAS, NOMAS, and student government to make impactful initiatives for Spitzer’s architecture education and environment. Nicole will pursue licensure and stay active in architectural organizations that serve and give back to the community in the local New York City area.

Julia Andor, AIAS, Assoc. AIA, NOMA (she/her/hers)

Julia Andor is currently serving as the AIAS National Vice President in Washington, D.C. She is a recent graduate of the New York Institute of Technology and has held various AIAS leadership roles at the NYIT Long Island chapter, earning an Chapter Leader of the Year honor award for her time as secretary. Julia served as Northeast Quad Director in 2022 and 2023.

Nese Gulay Altintas, AIAS, Assoc. AIA, NOMA (she/her/hers)

Nese graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture in May 2023. During her architectural education, she served in various leadership roles in AIAS, AIA, NOMAS, NOMA, and ASLA. While she embraced the journeys and advocated for the rights of International Students in the Council of Global Representatives Committee of AIAS (2019-2021), she also focused on maintaining her chapters’ well-being as the President of IIT AIAS (2020-2021). Nese has been the Student Director and the AIAspire Student Chair of AIA Illinois since 2021. Through these initiatives, she thrives as the bridge between the emerging professionals of AIA and the student leadership of AIAS at local and regional levels. Her passion for servant leadership and K12 education empowerment enhanced throughout her journey as an M. A. and Lila Self Leadership Academy Scholar at IIT. Currently, she is serving as the Labs Coordinator in Landon Bone Baker Architects (LBBA), where she is mentoring youth (K12) who are interested in the Arts and STEAM fields.

Katherine Bojsza (she/her/hers)

An partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Katherine Bojsza, AIA LEED Green Associate WELL AP has served in project management and design roles on many of the firm’s projects since joining the practice in 2004. Her expertise is in the facilitation of good design–from managing teams, ensuring quality, and refining the systems and methods used in practice. Kate served as the 47th Vice President of AIAS in 2003/04, Northeast Quad director the academic year prior, and on the NAAB and AIANY boards following her time in the AIAS national office.  She holds a BArch and BS from Carnegie Mellon and a certificate in commercial real estate from Cornell.


Benjamin Akhavan (he/him)

Benjamin Akhavan is the principal of FOAWM, a nondescript design Firm / Office / Atelier / Workshop / Milieu with polyvalent interests at the intersection of materials and urban life. He is the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs at Columbia GSAPP and teaches design and visualization at The City College of New York, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Columbia University. His work has been featured in Cambridge University Press Materials Research Society Proceedings, New York Review of Architecture, Mashrabiya, Citygroup Gallery, and MIT Thresholds.


Belén Vigil (she/her/hers)

A Texas native, Belén now lives in Denver where she has started her career at HKS. She is currently pursuing her license. When she is not working or studying for the AREs, Belén is likely tending her plants or hiking new trails.


Ricardo Jesus Maga Rojas, NOMA, Assoc. AIA | STG Design | Austin, TX (he/him)

Ricardo is an accomplished Afro-Cuban design professional at STG Design in Austin, TX, holding a Master’s of Urban Planning from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Tuskegee University. His unwavering commitment to fostering positive change and advancing diversity within the design industry is truly commendable. Ricardo’s leadership abilities are evident through his active involvement in esteemed organizations like the AIA and NOMA. Recognized for his outstanding contributions, he has received prestigious accolades, including the Associates’ Award from AIA National and Associate Member of the Year from the Texas Society of Architects. Ricardo’s unwavering dedication and visionary mindset serve as an inspiration to aspiring professionals within the design field.