IIDA announces 2021 Member, Student, and Educator of the Year

CHICAGO—IIDA is proud to announce the 2021 recipients of the annual Of The Year Awards. This year’s Member of the Year is Marivel Ansera, IIDA, senior interior designer and senior associate at HGA. The Student of the Year, sponsored by OFS, is Jen Khor, Student IIDA, a student at California State University. The Educator of the Year, sponsored by KI, is Olivier Vallerand, Associate IIDA, assistant professor at the Arizona State University.

Marivel Ansera

The IIDA Of The Year Awards recognize IIDA members who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment, passion, professionalism, and dedication to IIDA and to the design community.

“Our 2021 recipients are all inspiring IIDA members with a zeal toward competent leadership, adherent mentorship, dynamic insight, and involvement in steering the design industry to greater heights,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “We are delighted to be awarding them with these titles and to have them join us at the forefront of our mission.”

The IIDA Member of the Year Award recognizes and honors an IIDA member who has demonstrated volunteer service and dedication to assisting IIDA as it advances the interior design profession and advocates for interior design excellence. The award includes a $7,500 cash prize and a complimentary IIDA membership.

With 13 years of experience, Marivel Ansera, IIDA, has worked on a wide range of design projects at HGA spanning the realms of workplace, higher education, cultural and performing arts, and healthcare. Ansera is actively involved in IIDA and has served in a variety of leadership positions including as past president and VP of government and regulatory affairs of the IIDA Northland Chapter Board. Her empathetic approach to the design process involves listening first then diving deeper to understand each client’s strengths. She provides space for the most marginalized to voice their perspectives and believes interior design is about designing beautiful and functional spaces—and bringing human dignity and equity to our built environments.

Jen Khor

The IIDA Student of the Year Award recognizes an IIDA student member who has significantly impacted their school’s interior design program through outstanding leadership, insight, and involvement. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize, sponsored by OFS, and a complimentary IIDA membership.

Jen Khor, Student IIDA, is a student at the California State University, Long Beach who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture. Alongside her active role in IIDA, where she is fostering her dream of becoming an impactful interior designer, she has also held various leadership positions in the interior design community including as vice president of the Design Student Association, student senator and environmental aff­airs officer at SD Mesa College, CA and treasurer of her ASID Student Chapter. Additionally, she has worked as an interior design intern at Nevermore Group in Penang, Malaysia and Retail Design Collaborative in Long Beach. Khor is a stickler for sustainability and believes that design should foster a deeper connection between people and space as well as minimizing its overall environmental impact.

“We are honored to sponsor the IIDA Student of the Year Award. As a company, we are invested in both design excellence and ensuring the future of design, and design talent like Jen Khor’s is emblematic of both,” said Ryan MenkeIIDA, senior vice president of sales and marketing at OFS.

The IIDA Educator of the Year Award recognizes and celebrates a full-time design educator for outstanding accomplishments and commitment to interior design education. The award includes a $10,000 cash prize, sponsored by KI, and a complimentary IIDA membership.

Olivier Vallerand

Olivier Vallerand, Associate IIDA, holds a Ph.D. in architecture from McGill University and currently works as an assistant professor at the Arizona State University. Prior to this appointment, Vallerand held academic positions at the School of Architecture and the Department of Art History in Université Laval, Québec, QC, and Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. While he currently keeps an installation-based practice, Vallerand has practiced as a professional architect in various firms across the US and Canada including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Quebec. His research focuses on self-identifications, community identifications, and their relation to the design and experience of the built environment, on queer and feminist approaches to design education, and on alternative practices of design.

“KI is honored to partner with IIDA in presenting the Educator of the Year award to Dr. Vallerand for his focused work ensuring cultural and personal identity is embedded within the design of a space,” said Bryan Ballegeer, vice president, education markets at KI. “Dr. Vallerand’s research provides validity to what KI practices by way of allowing any community’s culture to be a vibrant part of the physical environment.”

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