The Forum

Hello AIA Virginia members, I am excited to begin my two-year term as your representative on the Young Architect’s Forum (YAF). 


I am a Senior Associate at CannonDesign in Arlington, Virginia where for the last 9 years I have been specializing in higher education projects, mostly student life and science and technology. I graduated from Oklahoma State University and have had my architectural license since 2016. I officially onboarded to the YAF at the annual meeting last week and will be on the Strategic Vision Focus Group for the next year. But enough about me, many of you may wonder what the YAF is and what the role entails. 

Carrie Parker, AIA


The YAF is a program of the American Institute of Architects and the College of Fellows (COF) and is organized to address issues of particular importance to recently licensed architects, within 10 years of licensure. 

The national YAF Advisory Committee (AdCom) is charged with encouraging the development of national and regional programs of interest to young architects and supporting the creation of YAF groups within local chapters. Approximately 23,000 AIA members are represented by the YAF; our volunteer leaders are Young Architect members in the AIA national, regional, state, and local components. YAF programs, activities, and resources serve young architects by providing information and leadership; promoting excellence through fellowship with other professionals; and encouraging mentoring to enhance individual, community, and professional development.

The Young Architects Forum Leadership consists of:

  • AdCom (Chair, Vice-Chair, Advocacy Director, Knowledge Director, Communications Director, Community Director, Strategic Vision Director);
  • Regional / state representatives;
  • AIA Board of Directors Liaison;
  • AIA Strategic Council Liaison; 
  • AIA College of Fellows Executive Committee Liaison;
  • YAF Past Chair

The YAF itself is in its first year of a renaissance. Previously the YAF body was composed of only 18 individuals appointed by regions of states. This is the first transition year where instead of regions, we are representing individual states and territories. This will soon give us a body of more than 50 individuals, increasing the size of each focus group and allowing us to accomplish more in the process.

The AIA has re-organized this year and the YAF is now under the body of the Workforce and Knowledge Community Group, while the sister organization of the National Associates Committee (NAC, Virginia represented by Caitlin Morgan) remains under the AIA’s Center for Emerging Professionals. Why this change? There has been a lot of conversation about the definition of “Emerging Professionals” and the Emerging Professionals Task Force deemed that those who are licensed are no longer “emerging” in their careers. An Emerging Professional is officially defined as “professionals who have completed their academic studies up to the point of licensure or up to 10 years after completion of their academic studies.” So in order to better serve you and create content that you will use, there is now more specificity to cater to each population. 


We are gearing up for YAF’s 30th anniversary at Summit 30 this fall where we will set the strategic initiative and vision for the next 5 years. We are hosting a series of 90-minute virtual charrettes called “Mission 2013: Code Red” April 5-7 (times vary) to allow us the opportunity to gather data that will inform the Summit. Help us answer questions like “What will the world look like in 100 years? How will the profession of architecture evolve to meet the demands of our future communities and climate? What technology needs to be invented to support these efforts?” Join the YAF for a robust conversation about the future of our planet as we crowdsource risks and opportunities related to the built environment’s connection to planetary and human health. Register to participate HERE.

The Future Forward Grant is open for applications. Presented by the AIA Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT) and the YAF, this grant supports emerging professionals and young architects in the testing of new ideas that disrupt the traditional conception of practice, process, and product in the field of architecture. The application period is now open and closes on April 30, 2022, at 11:59 pm EST. Find the grant and apply HERE.


Stay up to date on the latest news:

  • Twitter: @YAF
  • Facebook: @AIAYAFNational
  • Instagram: aiayaf
  • Linkedin: AIA YAF
  • AIA Knowledge Net (most comprehensive) 
  • Quarterly YAF Publication “Connection”. Links from Knowledge Net, also available HERE.

Parker Named New YAR

Carrie Lee Parker, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, has been named the new Young Architect Representative (YAR) for 2022-2023.

Carrie is a Senior Associate at CannonDesign’s DC office, serving higher education clients as project manager, project architect, and academic planner. She has served on Cannon’s NEXT Council, a group of frontline emerging professionals from across the globe that directly advise the firm’s leaders, and the NCARB Intern Think Tank. This heart of service extends to the problems facing young architects starting out in this complex profession with numerous avenues to pursue. Carrie has been involved with several national and state AIA activities and committees, the Washington Board of Trade’s Connected DMV, and was a winner of AIA Virginia’s 2020 Emerging Professional Award. She also enjoys leading many of her office’s pro-bono design efforts and traveling and designing with her architect husband.

As YAR, Carrie is the primary connection between local and state AIA components and the national YAF Advisory Committee.

The AIA YAF is the voice of recently licensed Architects and a catalyst for progress within the profession. The
national YAF Advisory Committee (AdCom) encourages the development of programs for young architects and supports the creation of YAF groups within local and state components. YAF programs, activities, and
resources provide young architects with information and leadership; excellence through fellowship with other
professionals; and mentoring to enhance individual, community, and professional development.

To reach out to Carrie with any young architect questions or opportunities, email her at

McDermott and Parker Honored with Virginia Emerging Professional Award

Whitney McDermott, AIA, and Carrie Lee Parker, AIA, are recognized this year with the Virginia Emerging Professional Award by AIA Virginia. Launched in 2015, the Virginia Emerging Professional Award is intended to recognize the accomplishments of emerging leaders in Virginia for their contributions to the profession in design, research, education, discourse; service to the profession, mentorship, or service to the community. Most recipients are accomplished in several of these areas, and all demonstrate the strength of the architecture profession in their early promise as thought leaders and designers.

McDermott, an architect who holds degrees in civil engineering, architecture, and urban planning, has demonstrated an extraordinary consistency and focus for more than a decade on architecture’s capacity to improve the lives of others through construction innovation, design thinking, and community-focused collaboration. While at the University of Virginia, she became the Project Manager for the University of Virginia’s eco/MOD Design Build project and graduated with dual degrees in Architecture and Urban and Environmental Design. Post-graduation, she received a year-long fellowship at the Allegheny Mountain School and then returned to Charlottesville to help manage over 26,000 square feet of organic gardens at the city’s six elementary schools.

In 2017, McDermott began working with a group of residents from the Southwood Mobile Home Park, five miles south of Charlottesville, to create a strategy that would transform the way marginalized communities participate in community design. For nearly five years, she has offered her professional and volunteer time working with the 85 percent Hispanic community to create a resident-led strategy to guide the neighborhood’s redevelopment. McDermott has created and led the training programs for residents using the principles of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) to reach across cultural boundaries in preparing workshops that communicate effectively. By employing ABCD coordination and governance, McDermott has helped residents create their own neighborhood redevelopment plan, write their own code of development, and create a mixed-income and mixed-use neighborhood 400 homes strong.

Parker, a Senior Associate at CannonDesign‘s Washington, DC office, works with higher education clients on large, complex projects, to improve the user experience and provide innovative solutions at all scales. Her leadership activities inside and outside of the office, however, define her nomination for this award. For two years, Parker worked tirelessly on behalf of a group of front line designers and emerging professionals from across the globe that directly advise the Cannon’s leaders as part of its NEXT Council. For two years, she also worked with NCARB to make its Licensing Advisors Summit a success and enrich the proceedings of its Intern Think Tank, committed to improving both the practices and policies of architecture. Currently, she serves on AIA’s Manufacturer’s Council as an architect volunteer to maintain bonds between building product manufacturers and design’s vanguard, as well as a proposal author for the DC Board of Trade’s “Urban Design and Quality of Life Working Group,” where she has advanced ideas for storm surge monitoring and photo point monitoring for public spaces. 

Her community work includes board leadership for Horizon House, a 291-unit building in DC entering its sixth decade and serving senior and disabled residents. Wielding a hammer, she worked with Rebuilding Together Alexandria to renovate and rehabilitate the homes of families and seniors in need, putting in the sweat equity her own community needed to not just survive but thrive. She has served as a board member for her own residential community, driving numerous capital improvements and providing pro bono design services for the renovation of the lobby, community center, pool house, and other amenities. Parker’s enthusiasm carries over to the office, as well. In her nomination letter, Patricia Bau, AIA, a principal and co-director of Cannon’s education practice, noted, “Carrie has served many roles in the life cycle of a project as programmer, planner, designer, project architect and project manager. Her versatility makes her a valuable member of our team locally as well as across the firm nationally.” Parker personifies the values of service leadership, community outreach, and mentorship, says Roland Lemke, AIA, a design principal at Cannon, in his nominating letter. “In the seven years that I have known her, she has positioned herself as an irreplaceable member of our team and office family.”

The Awards will be presented at Visions for Architecture on Thursday, Oct. 8 in an online awards ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. The program is free but registration is required.