Press Releases

June 27, 2017

Announcing the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee’s Civic Leadership Program 2017 Class

June 27, 2017, New York, NY – AIA New York and the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) are pleased to announce the 2017 class of the Civic Leadership Program (CLP). Ten talented and socially committed young professionals will participate in a year-long training program to help them develop the skills to become civic leaders.

CLP was inspired by the groundswell of energy and interest in our civic realm following the November election. Members, particularly young practitioners, were eager to get more involved with their government and use their unique set of skills to enact change. CLP is founded on the idea that architects, through their education and professional experience, are distinctly qualified to creatively solve civic problems, as well as to build consensus around these solutions. CLP seeks to foster these skills and apply them to the challenges the leaders identify throughout the program.
CLP will help the selected leaders learn how to advocate for issues that impact their profession, community, and themselves. The program’s vision is to fuel the next generation of AIA leadership by improving the organization’s culture of advocacy and supporting young voices with new resources and guidance. Engaged young leaders are better equipped to challenge and support policies for the future of the profession.

The CLP will give participants the opportunity to bolster skills to become leaders in our city, state, and nation. The ten selected leaders will run monthly development sessions to facilitate policy discussion, proposal development, and meetings with public leaders, officials, and government representatives. The CLP will culminate with two public events hosted at the Center for Architecture in Fall 2017.

The curriculum focuses on relevant issues including community engagement, sustainability and resilience, land use and public space, affordable housing, public interest design, public development and infrastructure, grassroots advocacy, the challenges of politics, activism, and new business models.








Michael Caton, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Architect, Ennead Architects

Michael Caton is a New York-based architect who focuses on helping communities build environments of possibility, equity, and imagination. In practice, Caton works on cultural, institutional, and civic projects that explore the critical relationship between architecture and the public realm. He participates in myriad initiatives, programs, and events that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in both architectural practice and education; these include involvement in the ACE Mentor Program and with the New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

Caton has practiced architecture in the Persian Gulf, Italy, and Switzerland. He has taught design studios and seminars at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE and regularly serves as an invited critic at architecture and design programs in New York City. His work and contributions to the field of architecture have been widely recognized by institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Twenty-first Century Art (MAXXI) in Rome, AIA New York, and Airbnb Design.

Jack Dinning, Assoc. AIA, Research Fellow, Healthy Materials Lab, Parsons The New School

Jack Dinning conducts research on healthier, non-toxic building materials, as well as strategies for how these can benefit vulnerable populations. He has developed this work at the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons and through collaborations with LTL Architects, LEVENBETTS, and Bernheimer Architecture. Dinning advocates for those most affected by materials toxicity, including infants and children, seniors, expecting mothers, and affordable housing residents.
Dinning has developed curricula and resources to educate fellow designers on best practices for healthier materials. He has led workshops with more than 200 students and professionals, from fashion students redesigning hospital gowns in the Bronx, to an architecture design-build studio renovating the Children’s Museum of the Arts. He has also developed public awareness campaigns in the form of gallery installations, social media ads, and online learning tools. Dinning’s work also demonstrates a longstanding commitment to social and environmental design advocacy on topics like coastal resiliency, urban timber construction, and sensory design for children with autism.

Christina Hernandez, Assoc. AIA, Architectural Designer, SLCE Architects

Cristina Hernandez is an architectural designer at SLCE Architects, where she works on housing. While studying Environmental Planning at Binghamton University, Hernandez worked on the Energy and Climate Action Plan for the City of Binghamton, developing recommendations for local policy and government action - a moment she points to as a catalyst to her interest in community building. Upon returning to New York City, she entered the MArch program at the Spitzer School of Architecture CCNY. While there, she worked as a research assistant for “Prototyping Architecture: The Solar Roofpod,” where she researched New York City’s infrastructure and the potential for net-zero-energy building in underutilized spaces.

Hernandez sees design as a form of communication, change, and service, with the physical design of homes, neighborhoods, and communities shaping every aspect of our lives. Before coming to SLCE, Hernandez biked across the country with Bike & Build to raise money and awareness for affordable housing efforts nationwide.

Daniel M. Horn, Assoc. AIA, Co-founder, ORLI+; Designer, Perez Architecture

Daniel M. Horn is an architectural designer who focuses on community recovery. While living in Lindenhurst in October 2012, Horn was personally affected by Superstorm Sandy. This experience fostered his commitment to building resilience through advocacy in at-risk coastal communities. After Sandy, Horn co-organized a grassroots group called Operation Resilient Long Island (ORLI), with the goal of bringing new resilient ideas to local towns affected by the storm. The group launched “3C: Comprehensive Coastal Communities,” a global design competition that brought in more than 60 entries from 20 countries.
Horn is now co-founder of ORLI+, a rebranded version of ORLI, which has become a resilient design and community engagement consultancy based in New York City. Horn is also a SEED (Social, Economic, Environmental, Design) certified professional and believes that public interest design and resilience should be paramount in all aspects of architectural practice.

A.L. Hu, Assoc. AIA, Teaching Assistant, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

A.L. Hu is a nonbinary person of color who designs, teaches, and organizes in the field of architecture. They are a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), where they earned a School Service Award for their work on Program Council, Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (QSAPP) and GSAPP Political Action Projects. They are also a recipient of the student-nominated Avery 6 Award for the student whose commitment within the studio and the school at large has earned the respect of the student body. As a member of The Architecture Lobby and a former member of the Graduate Workers of Columbia, A.L.’s work and research is at the intersection of architecture, gender, race, and labor rights.

Michaela Metcalfe, AIA, CCM, LEED AP, Director, Design and Construction Excellence, NYC Department of Design and Construction

Michaela Metcalfe is an architect dedicated to mindfully shaping public space. Her professional and academic explorations have included multi-scalar, architectural, and urban territories that advance design in the public realm. With over 12 years of experience as a Senior Designer and Project Manager at Sage and Coombe Architects and as a Senior Project Manager and Design Liaison at the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC), she has led collaborative processes resulting in award-winning public projects. Currently, as the Director of Design and Construction Excellence at DDC, she continues to advocate for equitable, sustainable, resilient, and healthy design while facilitating consensus between discrete stakeholders, the design aspirations of architects, and the delight of the public.
Metcalfe graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Design from the University of Florida School of Architecture and earned a MArch from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Jessica Morris, Assoc. AIA, Architectural Designer, Daniel Park Architects

Jessica Morris is a Designer and Project Coordinator in New York City where she is working towards professional licensure as an architect. Morris is currently a member of the AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee. She obtained her MArch from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006. Morris’s professional interests are diverse, ranging from environmental stewardship and community building to advancing the role and reception of art and architecture in society. She delights in the discourse of shared perspectives across practices, interests, and disciplines.

Shilpa Patel, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Associate/Design Manager, Laguarda.Low Architects

Shilpa Patel earned her BArch from the University of Houston and her MArch II from UCLA. She has over 13 years of architectural experience working on multi-scale domestic and international projects. As a Design Manager at Laguarda.Low Architects, she focuses on project management, design process, and feasibility for numerous projects. Through her work, she aims to address public relationships in urban design while maintaining a high degree of technical detail.
In 2015, Patel moved to New York City from Texas to pursue her Master’s in Real Estate Development at NYU. She hopes to balance her education in real estate and architecture to promote positive community and economic growth in conjunction with intelligent and innovative building design. Patel strives to understand and impact communities through positive leadership and volunteering, whether mentoring young girls or teaching yoga in underprivileged neighborhoods.

Jenna Leigh Wandishin, Assoc. AIA, Architectural Designer, Matiz Architecture and Design

Jenna Leigh Wandishin has been working at Matiz Architecture and Design since 2015 on commercial, institutional, and residential projects. She gained her BArch at Temple University’s main urban campus and attained a certificate in Designing Cities from the University of Pennsylvania’s PennDesign. Her exposure to the design and function of the small town and large cities fuels her interests in urbanism, specifically the design challenges of quickly densifying cities. An avid cyclist, Leigh Wandishin optimistically believes that a new generation of designers are challenging the previous generation’s reliance on the automobile.
Leigh Wandishin has served as an organizer of community engagement programs and as President of the AIAS chapter of Temple University. She is currently an engaged associate member of AIANY. These roles have inspired her to become a conscious designer and have developed her passion for proper planning and inclusive public interest design.


Ayodele Yusuf, Assoc. AIA, Associate, Perkins Eastman

Ayodele Yusuf is an Associate at Perkins Eastman with ten years of experience in key leadership and technical roles for a variety of large-scale projects, spanning waterfront redevelopment, transit-oriented development, institutional and medical buildings, and resiliency. As project manager of the New York Rising Program, Yusuf managed a multidisciplinary team to complete six community rebuilding and reconstruction plans, encompassing over 23 communities in Brooklyn, Nassau County, Queens, and Staten Island. The project garnered numerous awards and additional funding. Through a PE Traveling Scholarship, speaking engagements, and strategic partnerships with 100 Resilient Cities, he continues to develop the firm’s resilience expertise.

As an active Waterfront Committee member of the New York Chapter of the APA, Yusuf advocates for waterfront policies and practices that improve access to the New York Harbor. He served on the Advisory Board for the NYC Department of City Planning’s Urban Waterfront Adaption Strategies post-Hurricane Sandy, providing input on methodologies to address specific vulnerabilities, resiliency approaches, and evaluation frameworks. Yusuf earned a MAUD from Harvard University and a BArch from the University of Arkansas.

About the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA)
It is the goal of the Emerging New York Architects Committee to encourage membership, participation, and leadership in the AIA New York Chapter among intern architects, young architects (licensed 10 years or less), and emerging professionals in the fields of design and construction. The committee engages NYC’s diverse emerging design professionals through lectures, design competitions, and networking opportunities, with a focus on professional development, design excellence, and public outreach.

The AIA New York Chapter is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Chapter’s members include more than 5,000 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design.


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