Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are central to our mission and pursuit of excellence here at the College of Architecture. Each person has something to gain from and offer to our community of learning, discovery and outreach. Our aim is to foster an inclusive culture with diverse perspectives united by the transformative power of planning and design. All are welcome here.
Student Name: Di Zai Awng
Program Name: Architecture – M.Arch
Home Country and or State: Myanmar
Language(s) Spoken: Burmese, Kachin, Shan, English
Gender Identity: Male
Racial Identity: Asian
Favorite Project in College:
As an undergraduate interior design student, I won first place in the College of Architecture’s PAC Prize competition for a project I worked on in Omaha with two other students. I loved working on that project and I'm very proud of what we were able to accomplish. As an M.Arch student, I love all the collaborative projects I’m involved in. I’m inspired by the synergy that comes from collaborating. Those projects are always the most enjoyable and successful,
Why did you decide to become a designer/planner: As an undergraduate studying interior design, I was exposed to the college’s M.Arch program and decided that was my next step in the progression of my education. That’s when I realized I wanted to be more than just an architect. I wanted to become a designer that the Burmese people could look up to and say, "I want to be like him." This was important to me because as a child, there weren’t many successful Burmese people that I could look up to. In fact, I didn't even know architects existed.
Favorite thing to do when not working on a college project?
I got married before I started college and now have two lovely children with my very supportive wife. When I am not busy at school, I spend most of my time with my family. If I have an extra moment, I enjoy watching soccer.
Favorite Designer/Planner: Virgil Abloh (architecture background, off-white founder, Louis Vuitton designer)
Most inspiring book: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Country you want to visit the most? I would like to return to my home country once I’m successful.
Person who has inspired you the most? Jay Park who is a Korean-American rapper, CEO of two Korean hip-hop labels. I admire him because of his mind set and his desire to help others.
Why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important to you?
Without diversity, equity and inclusion, those who are not represented tend to feel they are not good enough and opportunities out there are not meant for us. I want to change that mindset and open doors for not just myself, but others who come after me.
What my future holds: When I graduate, I want to become the person, people back from my country look up to and admire. I want to be an inspiration for them, so they know their dreams are possible too.
Alumna Name: Tatiana Height Current Job Title: Community Development Planner
Title of thesis: Analyzing Communities in Black America: How Urban and Regional Planners Can Plan for Prosperous Black Communities
How has your degree advanced your career? The CRP degree was instrumental in launching my career as a planner. I have even utilized some of the CRP coursework in my current and previous positions. I researched meeting facilitation as a part of CRPL 900 and have gone on to facilitate public meetings. I learned economic analysis as a part of CRPL 840 which I used in my previous position at the NE Department of Natural Resources. I have also utilized the GIS skills learned in CRPL 830 to map out historic districts expansions and to create buffers to prioritize housing rehabilitation projects in Kinston's low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
Current work project: I am the Project Manager for the Kickstart Kinston economic development program. The goal of this program is to help Kinston entrepreneurs start new businesses or grow existing businesses. We put on a series of business events throughout the year and we have a business loan fund which is funded by the NC Rural Center.
Other degrees: I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Great Plains Studies with minors in Community & Regional Planning, Environmental Studies, and Engler Entrepreneurship.
Fondest memory or most rewarding project with the program? The most rewarding project I did in the CRP program was researching park and greenspace equity in the South Salt Creek Neighborhood, for Neighborworks Lincoln, as a part of the Planning Studio course. I was even invited to present that research at the 2018 NC Environmental Justice Summit.
What did you think about the curriculum and the quality of the faculty? I think the CRP program has a solid curriculum foundation. I was very pleased to be able to take the first online class offered through the CRP Program, in the final semester before I graduated. I also think the CRP Program has a very supportive group of faculty members.
Ways To Get Involved
Nebraska Community of Learners — Understanding Diversity
A community of learners dedicated to understanding diversity through education. The series of virtual conversations are intended to help students, faculty, staff, alum and the greater community understand and embrace the opportunities we have to create a greater sense of inclusion for all. #NCLUDE is a space to talk candidly about inclusive excellence being a part of our everyday interactions.
Get involved! It’s a great way to make your college years not only successful but memorable and meaningful. Check out several of our college of Architecture student organizations with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Hyde Lecture Series —Understanding Diversity through Education
This year the CoA Hyde Lecture series will feature speakers from across disciplines that are united under the common theme of “Building Justice- Design and Planning for a Just Society.”
Our professions have long excluded people of color and under-served groups in both process and outcomes. To confront it, the 20-21 Hyde Lecture Series brings lecturers who believe that design and planning should be explicitly engaged with fostering a just society. Doing so is an act of hope requiring, not only, an awareness of true inequity, but also a compulsion to refute it in its many forms.