For the second consecutive year, a Virginia Tech interior design student has been awarded the Angelo Donghia Foundation Scholarship.

Sydney Miller, a senior in the School of Architecture + Design, was one of 12 selected winners for 2019, and her design was chosen from a pool of 69 student projects of accredited programs nationwide. Each winner receives up to $30,000 to go toward tuition, board, maintenance, and books.

The project required students to envision a university facility that integrates technology, learning, and sustainability while responding to the blending lifestyles of today’s students and professionals. “This project was a bit experimental for me in terms of my design comfort zone,” said Miller. “I’m excited it was well-received.”

Miller’s concept explores how the joining of materials in intersecting areas of the building can activate those areas. In her design, person-to-person connections are facilitated by placing important community destinations in joint spaces. A wood and glass slatted feature showcases material joinery in a literal way. This particular feature draws the eye up to skylights, which filter natural light and highlight important places.    

Sydney Miller's winning design for the Angelo Donghia Foundation Scholarship
In Miller's winning design, person-to-person connections are facilitated by placing important community destinations in joint spaces.

The goal of the space as a whole is to foster interdisciplinary research, and the design focus on joinery is meant to highlight the connection of different fields.

“It is a great honor to be recognized, and I appreciate the generosity of the Angelo Donghia Foundation,” said Miller. “It’s thanks to my professors who provide valuable mentorship as well as my friends in studio who are always willing to give me feedback on my work. The environment created at Virginia Tech by both faculty and students is a challenging one that’s constantly pushing boundaries and inspiring good work.”

Miller is the current president of IDEAS, Interior Designers for Education and Sustainability, a student organization dedicated to educating members about the field and connecting them with professionals. She has been heavily interested in sustainable design since the beginning of her college career. Early on, she took environmental courses and is now declaring a sustainability minor.

“Sydney is truly interested in learning,” said Lisa Tucker, chair of the interior design program. “She is curious and opens herself to the many opportunities that surround her — a characteristic that makes her a great designer.”

Following graduation, Sydney hopes to travel before beginning work at at the Washington, D.C., offices of Gensler, where she interned in the summer of 2019.

Since 2002, the Angelo Donghia Foundation has provided support for the advancement of education in the field of interior design. Since its launch, including the amounts distributed to scholarship winners, the foundation has awarded more than $15 million to education and other causes.

— Written by Maura Perez