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.