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Equity in Architecture (EIA)

Equity-by-Design-Conference-2016-Survey-01.jpgIn 2015, AIA National created the Equity in Architecture Commission, a panel of leading architects, educators, and diversity experts to investigate diversity and inclusion in the profession. AIA Kansas City is engaging in this call to action with its own Equity in Architecture (EIA) committee! 

The Equity in Architecture (EIA) mission is to provide resources for members and member firms to improve their company's awareness and success on issues around diversity. Topics of interest include talent recruitment/retention, advancement in the profession, and furthering the value of design in society through diversity actions. EIA has outlined its "A.C.E." goals to Advocate. Connect. and Educate. 

Meet Your Equity in Architecture Co-Chairs:

Shahad Sadeq, Associate AIA – Drury alumnus and aspiring architect, Shahad is committed to continuing the effort of diversity and inclusion in the profession. She is involved with Women in Design and  Education Outreach. Shahad is an architectural graduate at BNIM.

Samantha McCloud, AIA - KC native and K-State alumnus, Samantha is passionate about her community and spreading awareness on humanitarian issues in the profession. She is a past Associate Director of the AIA KC Board with continuous years of active involvement in other AIA KC committees such as Women in Design, YAF, and Education Outreach. Samantha is a licensed architect at GastingerWalker&. 


Equity in Architecture Spotlight:

coats.jpgMichael Coats, AIA

Education: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Kansas

Years of Experience: 16 years​
Outside of Architecture:
Past 2nd Vice President - Construction Specifications Institute
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated
Self-taught barber
Rational Jayhawk Fan

Michael is a Senior Architect at Burns & McDonnell as well as a past 3 Year Director of AIA Kansas City and currently serves as the AIA Kansas City Representative for AIA Kansas. He started his career path in pursuit of a civil engineering degree, but realized through internships as a student that architecture was where he wanted to thrive. As an AIA Kansas City Education Outreach Program Chair and active volunteer, Michael is passionate about providing youth in the local urban core opportunity to see a path to success in architecture. From finding his inspiration at a young age, Michael enjoys investing his time and energy into reigniting the thought fires to keep the passion for the profession alive. Michael identifies that inspiration can be found in many different arenas.

“Diversity is this buzzword that I am still attempting to define on a personal level. It is such a
broad term that I feel compartmentalizes the breadth of culture and experience it is trying to
define. . . . There are many barriers that make the goal of true inclusiveness an elusive
endeavor but that does not mean you do not try to achieve it. . . . In the end, we all should be
more passionate about diversity within architecture. It should not be the responsibility of one
person of color, one woman, one person from any category defined as “diverse” to address this issue. It should be a holistic goal that we as a profession address and offer appropriate
solutions to make sure that diversity is not lumped into a monolithic catchphrase.”

​Whitley Fields, Associate AIA

Whitley Fields_Bio Pic.jpg
Education: Master of Architecture and Minor in Leadership Studies, Kansas State University

Years of Experience: 6 years​
Facts About Whitley:

  • Whitley loves traveling, blogging, and doing DIY projects from Pinterest

  • Whitley is a big ‘foodie’ and loves to try new recipes

  • Whitley participated in the Pillars Leadership Program, class of 2014

  • Whitley is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Xi Tau Omega Chapter

As a child, Whitley developed a passion for design through various creative arts programs and activities. This passion led her to pursue a degree in architecture, and since graduation she has been a part of SFS Architecture in Kansas City, Missouri. Her project experience encompasses pre-design and construction documentation services for projects ranging from renovation, to adaptive reuse and greenfield construction. In her spare time, Whitley enjoys speaking with and encouraging young students to pursue future careers in various design fields through her involvement in programs such as AIA Education Outreach and Urban TEC Kansas City. By means of classroom presentations, day-of- shadowing, and mentorship, Whitley has been able to expose youth of all backgrounds, grades K-12, to design and architecture.

“Once I embarked down the path of obtaining an architectural degree, I realized that there was a vast under-representation of minorities…I knew for a fact that this wasn’t due to a lack of capability, but a lack of exposure. It has become a personal mission of mine to become a part of the solution.” – Whitley Fields, AIA, LEED Green Associate

Committee Co-chairs

Samantha McCloud, AIA
Shahad Sadeq, Associate AIA

Get Involved >



EIA Resources

AIA Equity Survey Report

AIA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Commision Executive Summary

2017 KC Chamber Diversity & Inclusion Report

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