2020 Scholars

Emily DeSmit | RATIO Design | Indianapolis, Indiana

Emily DeSmit is a Registered Architect and Project Architect at RATIO. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects. She holds a Master’s in Architecture from the College ofArchitecture and Planning at Ball State University Emily is a problem solver, highly skilled at coordinating projects and bringing people and teams together. She strives to be a go-to person for direction and encourages an environment that allows team members and clients to be a part of the design process. With over ten years of experience, Emily enjoys drawing inspiration from those who have different experiences than her own and balancing those with her own breadth of knowledge.

Geoff DeSmit | Axis + Architecture | Indianapolis, Indiana

Geoffrey DeSmit is a Project Architect at Axis Architecture and Interiors. Geoffrey is a graduate of Ball State University, earning both a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Master’s Degree while there. After graduating with his undergraduate degree Geoffrey chose to go directly into the profession where he had the opportunity to work on projects of a grand scale including The New Indianapolis Airport, The Palladium and the new JW Marriott complex in Indianapolis. This early experience on large projects was a crash course in collaboration and imprinted on him how critical it was to be able to learn and adapt quickly.

Taylor Earl | Schmidt Associates | Indianapolis, Indiana

Prior to joining Schmidt Associates in 2017, Taylor served as a Design Manager at Main street Property Group, a transitional care developer in Carmel, IN. While at Main street, Taylor was responsible for working with outside consultants and national health care operators to develop market offerings unique to each operator. Before joining Main street he was a graduate research assistant and associate professor in the department of Technology at Ball State University. Taylor earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University, as well as a Master of Architecture degree from Ball State University.

Karen Fisher | Barton-Coe-Vilamaa | Fort Wayne, Indiana

Karen is a thorough, thoughtful registered architect and LEED Green Associate. Originally hailing from the Kentucky side of Cincinnati, she now resides in Fort Wayne and has worked with Barton- Coe-Vilamaa Architects and Engineers since 2012. As a project architect, she has worked with 20 public school clients throughout Indiana and has focused on the K-12 project type. Karen loves seeing how ideas come to life and how much of an impact well-designed spaces can make on students’ and teachers’ daily experiences. Her projects balance the incorporation of new, colorful ideas and curriculum models with the consideration of longtime flexibility and durability. She has enjoyed mentoring other young interns and encouraging their interest in architecture. Outside of the office, Karen loves traveling, spending time with her husband and daughter, and attempting to learn the art of baking macarons.

Katie Grajewski | KrM Architecture | Indianapolis, Indiana

Katie earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Tulane University in New Orleans, where her thesis was selected for a Commendation award. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Ball State University, Magna Cum Laude, as a Whitinger Scholar. She is a proponent for architectural education, and remains active with Ball State as a volunteer.

Austin Haag | Browning Day | Indianapolis, Indiana

Austin Haag is a Project Architect at Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf. His love of architecture started at age 10 when he was introduced to the computer game, The Sims, where he only created homes for the characters. What he loves most about his profession is having a greater impact on his environment, and that people can interact with the spaces he creates. Austin earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Architecture and a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Ball State University.

Gayathri Kesavan | Herman and Kittle Properties, Inc. | Indianapolis, Indiana

is a Graduate Architect at Herman and Kittle Properties, Inc. She is a licensed Architect in India where she completed her undergrad in Architecture. She has a Master of Architecture from State University of New York at Buffalo and has close to 7 years’ experience working on projects in India and United States. She comes from a family full of bankers and finance gurus on one side and engineers on the other side. She, however, chose to stick out as a sore thumb as she saw her true calling in architecture. The journey has been hard with constant doubts and questions from family like – “do you make enough money?” However, she finds it fulfilling and strongly believes that the best is yet to come. She is currently taking her AREs and aims to be a Registered Architect in US soon. She is also entrepreneur of Wood Viya, a furniture business, where she teams up with her husband to design and build custom furniture. Wood Viya has successfully completed and delivered unconventional quality furniture and home decors across the country. Her bio says all this because she is among Architects but if you ask her, she prefers calling herself Gus, Agasthya and Adhvika’s mom. In her “free time” she loves solving puzzles, baking and watching Marvel movies for nth time! On aside note, the first item on her bucket list of things to do in life after ARE is – master Solidworks and 3D printing, so she can work on cool product designs with her husband.

Heidi Larson | Schmidt Associates | Indianapolis, Indiana

Heidi Larson is a BIM Designer and Quality Manager who works with Project Architects and cross discipline teams on the development and coordination of complex BIM models. Furthermore, she is responsible for the implementation of standards, training, and development of Schmidt Associates’ BIM systems. Heidi is all about excellence, striving to be better, and continually learning.  For her, finishing a project involves more than reaching a deadline, it is every detail that is needed to coordinate and communicate the design. She knows that we can all only do our best, but our best should always be growing. Heidi has contributed to many projects throughout her 10 plus years including Lake Central High School, Ivy Tech Bloomington, the New Hammond Middle High School, and the New Marion County Criminal Justice Center. Heidi holds a BA in Interior Design from Purdue University.

Jacklyn Liang | Lancer + BeeBe | Indianapolis, Indiana

Jackie Liang graduated with her BArch in 2007 from North Carolina State University, interned at a big Southeast regional firm in Charleston, SC until 2011, finished taking the ARE in 2013 while practicing in Seattle, WA and then took a sabbatical while starting a family while living in the Netherlands from 2014-2018. Jackie has experience on educational, commercial, institutional and multi-family residential projects in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest prior to moving to Indianapolis. She prides herself on listening to her client’s and the community’s needs to inform design decisions. She is a passionate, detail-oriented architect who enjoys creating spaces that enrich the community and improve the educational experience for our youth through the built environment. She strives to utilize sustainable, environmental design principles on all future developments. After moving to Indianapolis last year, she began volunteering at the International School of Indiana as a chaperone on school field trips, organizing play-dates and school functions with classmates and administrators, and providing insight to young minds about what architects do in their three language immersion tracks. In the past she has worked construction with Habitat for Humanity, been an active AIA YAF member, volunteered as a Seattle Architecture Foundation Tour Guide and organized playgroup events for the Mums and Toddlers of Eindhoven International playgroup. As she balances her time as Project Architect / Project Manager at Lancer+Beebe since January 2019, she is looking for ways to develop as a better leader managing staff, delegating project tasks and continuing to grow their firm in current and expansive markets. She looks forward to this program in aiding young architects to advance in the architecture profession.

Greg Perkins | Synthesis Incorporated | Indianapolis, Indiana

Greg received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. During his work life he has gained experience in civic, education, and multi-family housing projects. He enjoys working on all phases of projects but is most passionate about working with clients and stakeholders to conceptualize their ideas in the early phases of a project. When Greg is not at work, he can be found spending time with his wife and son, enjoying the outdoors, or tinkering with furniture building projects. 

Nick Peterson | American Structurepoint | Indianapolis, Indiana

Nick Peterson is a Design Associate with American Structurepoint Inc. At Structurepoint, Nick has assumed the role of a project architect and is responsible for project production and delivery, design services, and consultant management. His project teams have worked in various sectors, including commercial, higher education, retail/hospitality, and municipal. Nick believes that communication is the key to success and is always trying to collaborate more effectively. Nick graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science in architecture in 2013 and a Master of Architecture in 2015. In his free time, he enjoys traveling with his wife, tinkering and building things out of wood, metal, glass, and concrete. Nick is an AIA member and resides in Indianapolis.Greg received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. During his work life he has gained experience in civic, education, and multi-family housing projects. He enjoys working on all phases of projects but is most passionate about working with clients and stakeholders to conceptualize their ideas in the early phases of a project. When Greg is not at work, he can be found spending time with his wife and son, enjoying the outdoors, or tinkering with furniture building projects. 

Daniel Potash | arcDESIGN | Indianapolis, Indiana

As an associate at arcDESIGN, Daniel serves as the one of the firm’s leaders for Indiana University projects. Through in-depth discovery work and ongoing client relationships, Daniel bases his designs and project management on detailed understanding of requirements and intended use.

Diana Short | Champlin | Indianapolis, Indiana

Diana has been practicing architecture in the Indianapolis area for 10 years and has been a registered architect since 2015. She is a proud alumnus of both Ball State University (’07) and the University of Cincinnati (’12). She has had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, from new construction to historic renovation and adaptive reuse with a strong focus in the sectors of higher education and judicial. Following a project through completion is always her goal to build relationships with clients that help her guide them along the process from big ideas and preliminary goals to reality. Diana also has a strong passion for mentorship of younger staff members due to the wonderful mentors she has had over the years. Onboarding new staff and helping with the formation of a culture in her current office has been particularly rewarding as Champlin builds a stronger presence in Indianapolis. She lives with partner of 12+ years, John, and together they are raising a daughter (Nora) and a spirited Beagle (Draper).

Ashley Thornberry | Axis+Architecture | Indianapolis, Indiana

Ashley Thornberry is an architectural associate at Axis Architecture + Interiors. An Indianapolis native, Ashley graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor of science in architecture (2013) and a master of architecture (2015). While at Ball State, she had the opportunity to study architecture throughout Europe and Asia, which combined her love of design and history. At Axis, Ashley enjoys being part of a variety of projects, including civil-based projects such as fire stations. She has been an active member of AIA Indiana and AIA Indianapolis for the past four years, and currently serves as the AIA Indy Architects’ Home Tour chair. Ashley has a passion for connecting with others, and is interested in advancing the role of emerging professionals in AIA on both a local and national level. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys relaxing with her husband and their dog Anna; experimenting with different hand lettering styles; and perfecting the best cup of coffee.

Eric Weflen | RQAW | Indianapolis, Indiana

Eric is a Principal and Director of Architecture at RQAW with over 15 years of experience. His experience includes conducting facility assessments and feasibility studies, master planning, facility design, preparation of contract bid documents, and specifications with a specialty in municipal, public safety, and justice facilities and clients. He has extensive experience leading clients with multiple stakeholder groups through all stages of design and construction for complex project types.  A focus of every one of his projects is operational efficiency, maximizing the client’s dollar and excellent communication between all parties. Eric is committed to a client-focused, teamwork approach that has been very successful in delivering projects on time and under budget.

Austin Zehr | DELV | Indianapolis, Indiana

Austin studied architecture at Ball State University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in 2015. At Ball State, Austin found his passion for fabrication during design-build focused studio projects. After graduation, he took a year off from school to intern at TEG Architects in Jeffersonville, Indiana. While at TEG, Austin worked on a $275 replacement hospital located in North Dakota. Other project types included higher education, restaurants, and prototypical convenience stores. Austin also interned at arcDESIGN the summer of 2017, where he worked on an in-depth facility assessment for several dormitories at Indiana State University. Austin received his Master’s of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. At U of I, he worked in the woodshop, as a Fabrication Technician, and was also a Teaching Assistant for sophomore design studio. Austin currently works for DELV Design where he has worked on a wide variety of project types. A few projects include fire stations, car dealerships, restaurants/breweries, orthodontics clinics, and a lake house. He will soon be starting the Architect Registration Exam process to become a licensed architect.