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Pursuing Licensure is Challenging, But the 2018 AIANY ENYA ARE Scholarship is Here to Help

HD Architectural Supports Scholarship Recognizing EP’s Contributions to AIA NY + Push to Get Peers On Path Towards Licensure

As emerging architects balance their early careers with the bustle of the busy Manhattan circuit, not to mention its high cost of living, pursuing licensure may feel like an uphill battle, so Hunter Douglas Architectural teamed up with AIA New York and the Emerging New York Architects Committee to help support a scholarship to encourage local, ambitious young professionals who are pushing their peers to become licensed. Admission is open now through November 12 for the new ENYA ARE Scholarship, which recognizes the contributions of two young architects to both the AIA NY chapter and their efforts to encourage their peers to get licensed. The winners will be reimbursed up to $1,410 for the Architect Registration Examination, the cost of registering for six divisions of the exam. 

“As of 2017, there are 1,080 licensed architects in New York.” –Kathryn Thiele, co-chair of ENYA

Here, Hunter Douglas Architectural sat down with ENYA’s co-chairs, Daniel Aronberg, a designer at 1100 Architect, and Kathryn Thiele, an architectural designer at URBAN Architecture, who helped spearhead the initiative. They give us the lowdown on why getting licensed matters, who is eligible to apply and their advice asking for letters of recommendation and letters of support. For more details on criteria and eligibility, and to apply for the scholarship, click here

Kathryn Thiele announces the 2018 AIANY ENYA ARE Scholarship sponsored by Hunter Douglas Architectural

HD: What motivated the idea to reformat the initiative and expand the AIA ENYA ARE Scholarship this year so that two winners will be recognized? Are you seeing an uptick in engagement from emerging professionals (EP’s) wanting to help their peers progress in their early careers?

DA: Being in the position of taking the exams ourselves, we know how difficult it is to get started and to pass them all. There’s a lot of pressure, and part of that comes from the cost, which can be a challenge for emerging professionals.

ENYA co-chair Daniel Aronberg of 1100 Architect

ENYA co-chair Daniel Aronberg

“Knowing that you can have the costs covered clears one of the common hurdles to getting started.”

–Daniel Aronberg, co-chair of ENYA   

Perhaps more importantly we have re-formatted the award to be a scholarship this year. This offers the opportunity to have each exam paid for at the time of taking it rather than the previous method which only awarded those that had recently completed ALL the exams. 

The expansion of the award recognizes the fact that not all firms offer financial assistance for taking the exams, despite the fact that licensed architects can provide financial and professional benefits to their firms. It also recognizes the strength of all the ARE Prep offerings by AIANY. Many of those programs were initiated and organized through the ENYA committee are a natural resource for our committee membership group.

HD: Why are you personally proud to help spearhead ENYA’s support of this year’s ARE scholarships?

DA: Coming into to the co-chair position, we both felt that the committee needed to find a variety of ways to encourage the participation and personal growth of our fellow emerging professionals. This award is a huge step in that direction and provides a great opportunity for all the emerging professionals. We’re proud to reinvent this award as a scholarship because it really is a better fit in this format for those pursuing licensure. It is also fantastic to provide renewed interest in the award by partnering with Hunter Douglas Architectural and expanding the award to two winners.

HD: The scholarship recognizes the contributions of emerging architects to the chapter, profession and/or community; this can come in many forms. Is there an ideal candidate the jury will be looking for?

DA: Yes, ideal candidates are the types of emerging professionals who have looked to make a positive impact on the profession and community through their actions. Architects have a unique skill-set that is valuable in this sense, and for applicants to demonstrate this helps to ensure that the profession advances while maintaining a position of value to society.

New York emerging professionals gather at the scholarship’s kick-off

HD: How important is it for architects to balance taking on early leadership roles within their firms, chapters and additional external organizations?

KT: Leadership is important, it promotes self-awareness and encourages engagement with a wide array people. It also signals a desire to share one’s experience with others. 

“A leadership role is not the only way to show leadership, active participation is a type of leadership too.”

–Kathryn Thiele, co-chair of ENYA

ENYA co-chair Kathryn Thiele, of URBAN Architecture

ENYA co-chair Kathryn Thiele

HD: Why does AIA NY want to recognize efforts on the part of young architects to encourage other young professionals to become licensed?

DA: A strong network of licensed architects helps strengthen the voice and respect of the profession. This allows for industry standards, like drawing standards, contracts, and standards of service to be established. It also gives the profession power to lobby at all levels of government.

HD: Simply put: why does obtaining licensure matter and how can it make a big difference in career growth, pay and opportunities?

DA: If you have ambitions of running your own practice you need to be licensed. If you want to become a partner you will likely need to be a registered architect. In general, you may find it difficult to advance beyond the designer positions and into a management role. Firms can be required to list team members when submitting credentials for prospective work.

“Clients often require licensed professionals to manage the project. And, yes, you can expect to see an increase in salary after becoming licensed.”

–Daniel Aronberg, co-chair of ENYA   


HD: What perceived uphill battles – from cost to time commitments – deter architects from obtaining licensure?

KT: It can be difficult to balance the work-life-study triangle of commitments. Test early to avoid the inevitable life conflicts that appear more frequently the longer you wait. It can also be expensive to pay for exams and study materials or classes.

“This scholarship aims to ease the financial burden while encouraging early testing.” –Kathryn Thiele, co-chair of ENYA

AIA NY and the Emerging New York Architects Committee announced a new annual honor program: the ENYA ARE Scholarship

AIA NY and the Emerging New York Architects Committee announced a new annual honor program: the ENYA ARE Scholarship.

HD: Why is it so meaningful for AIA NY and ENYA members to make time to acknowledge and celebrate licensure? And, how can firms help push emerging professionals to get licensed?

DA: Licensure should be celebrated for the benefits it brings to both individuals and the profession. To encourage this, firms should acknowledge the difficulty of passing exams and do everything they can to support individuals pursuing licensure. This often means giving more responsibility to designers so they get a wide range of the tasks required to complete a project from design through construction.


Two scholarships will be awarded in 2018

Two scholarships will be awarded in 2018.

Awardees will receive exam registration reimbursement up to $1,410

Awardees will receive exam registration reimbursement up to $1,410.

HD: Do you have examples of past scholarship winners who, after winning, went on to continue to make an impact in helping architects become licensed? How did they benefit from the scholarship?

KT: In 2016, Michael Archer won Emerging New York Architects Merit Award. Michael started SOM’s Licensure Open House, a quarterly gathering to support designers at SOM who are working towards earning their licenses. Michael serves on the NCARB Ethics Task Force, the AIA Jason Pettigrew Memorial Scholarship jury, and is the AIA New York Chapter Architect Licensing Advisor, where he founded the ARE Workshop, a biweekly, yearlong licensure support program open to the public.


ENYA teamed up with APT and Bluecadet on the recent Habits of Entrepreneurs event. The committee encourages EP’s to get involved in the network’s regular lineup of programs.

HD: Asking for letters of nomination might be intimidating for some architects – do you have any tips on how to approach firm leaders?

DA: Good question, most firm leaders strongly support licensure and would be happy to help if approached. However, candidates should also consider who they ask for letters of nomination and letters of recommendation. The letter of nomination is best written by someone aware of the full spectrum of a candidate’s professional and community contributions. A letter of recommendation may serve as a testament to a specific event or action by a candidate. 

If a firm principal is the right person to speak in either of these capacities, a candidate should be comfortable and willing to ask.  

The scholarship recognizes the contributions of members, at an early stage of their career, to the AIA NY Chapter, and provides resources to encourage young professionals to become licensed professionals.

The scholarship recognizes the contributions of members, at an early stage of their career, to the AIA NY Chapter, and provides resources to encourage young professionals to become licensed.

HD: What does preparing for the Architect Registration Exam require in your experience?

DA: Preparing for an exam often requires a candidate to balance their work, social, and study schedules. I find that being realistic about the time you can invest in each will help in creating a study plan that leads to success on the day of the test.

HD: In general, are young architects more engaged than in the past, and are there topics, issues or shared experiences that might be driving this need to improve outreach and create specific programming to promote early advancement?

KT: We believe young architects are more engaged than in the past. Emerging professionals love the networking/social events. The happy hours and Beyond the Boards programs (led by ENYA) have been extremely successful. We think our outreach in the AIA community has been successful, but architects outside of the AIA, don’t necessarily get our event information.

ENYA's Fellows Happy Hour at the Milliken Showroom

ENYA’s Fellows Happy Hour at the Milliken Showroom.

To learn more about ENYA and upcoming events like the recent events and exhibits pictured below, click here. Its committee meetings are open to the public and are held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm at the Center for Architecture.



The Downstate Emerging Professionals Sandcastle Competition at Jacob Riis Park

The Downstate Emerging Professionals Sandcastle Competition at Jacob Riis Park.

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