The Arab American Association of Engineers and Architects in the capital area (Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.) has awarded a scholarship to Yasmina Raya of Fairfax, Va., a student in the Executive Master of Natural Resources program offered by the College of Natural Resources and Environment in the National Capital Region.

The scholarship is presented to a student in the field of engineering, architecture, or information technology to promote these fields as worthy professions and to foster stronger ties between the association and the Arab American Community. Raya earned a bachelor of science degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota.

Working for an environmental design firm after graduation, Raya helped her clients meet LEED accreditation standards. “As a result,” she said, “an initial interest in sustainability issues just continued to grow. I realized that I wanted to devote my career to green initiatives and began searching for a graduate program in the Washington, D.C., area that could offer me the knowledge and experience I would need to fulfill my goal of providing management and leadership in this area.”

She decided that Virginia Tech’s Executive Master of Natural Resources program in the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability was that program. The 24 students in the program’s cohort meet one weekend a month at the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington and work on off-campus projects the rest of the time. The program includes a 10-day international residency in which students network with global partners to develop multi-scale strategies for global sustainability.

“This program is just amazing and has been a perfect fit for me,” said Raya, who will graduate in May. Over the course of the 18-month program, Raya has focused her attention to energy efficient rebuilding programs and hopes to work in that particular field. “I am looking forward to applying what I’ve learned in the Virginia Tech program to future sustainability projects,” she said.