L-R: Villager Laura Yusko, scholarship recipients David Holmes (UM), Mara Stegaru (FIU), UM students Maria Lira, Clarissa Hellebrand, and Amanda Arrizabalaga, and Villager Cheryl Akerman. (Photograph provided courtesy of The Villagers, Inc.)

The Villagers have awarded $31,000 in college scholarships to 12 deserving students with an interest in architectural historic preservation and restoration. 

Seven students were selected from the University of Miami’s (UM) five-year School of Architecture program. Recipients are juniors, Maria Lira, Tiffini Banks, and Clarissa Hellebrand;seniors Amanda Arrizabalaga, Julia Murdoch, David Holmes, and Shannar O’Connor.  Due to their exceptional performance at UM, Holmes and O’Connor have been multi-year beneficiaries of the award.

The UM students have been involved with a wide range of historic preservation projects both locally and internationally.  Local efforts have included working on a preservation survey of the Shennandoah neighborhood, documenting Art Deco structures on Miami Beach, and documenting buildings in Coral Gables.

Mara Stegaru, a graduate student at Florida International University (FIU), is majoring in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design.  She has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and worked on a historical, cultural and ecological restoration of Miami’s Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery. 

From the University of Florida School of Architecture, Trey Asner is a graduate student with a major in Historic Preservation who is working to document mid-century modern neighborhoods in Florida.

A portion of the scholarship funds are designated for deserving students graduating from DASH, Miami-Dade County’s magnet school for architecture and design. The winners of the award are able to designate the scholarship to the university of their choice. All three of this year’s recipients earned college credit by attending the pre-college program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC last summer. Graduating seniors selected were Maresa Amador, Maria Kuraeva, and Yan Sotolongo. 

Students were selected from the field of applicants based on scholastic standing, recommendations, samples of their work and their statement of interest in preserving architectural past.

Cheryl Akerman and Laura Yusko co-chaired The Villagers’ Scholarship Selection Committee with Renee Belair, Collette Worm and Diane Lee.

About The Villagers:

The Villagers, Inc. is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of historic sites in Miami-Dade County, Florida.  Founded in 1966, the all-volunteer organization is a not-for-profit 501(c)3.  www.thevillagersinc.org   

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