Making a Difference

Students at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning put their training into action facilitated through a number of top honors.

The Leenhouts Scholarship

Introducing Leeann Soo Wacker, 2017 Leenhouts Scholar
The Leenhouts Scholarship is the legacy of Lillian and Willis Leenhouts (FAIA) who practiced architecture in Milwaukee from 1945 to 1990. Lillian was a co-founder of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning, was the first licensed female architect in Wisconsin, and served as the first woman on the Wisconsin Architectural Licensing Board. Lillian’s strength of character and commitment to architecture serve as inspiration for a $5,000 annual scholarship offered at the School. It was initiated in 1990 with contributions from professional associates and friends of Lillian and Willis Leenhouts and has supported many scholars, including this year’s scholar Leeann Soo Wacker.

Leeann Soo Wacker is an MArch student with a BFA in Drawing and Painting and a minor in Art History from the UWM’s Peck School of the Arts. During her undergraduate years, she was awarded a travel scholarship to pursue research in the Galapagos Islands. Her research focused on environmentalism’s omission of peoples living in what are globally referred to as ecological and environmental strongholds. This opportunity fanned the flames of an already existing interest in how environments and peoples interact and respond to one another.

After earning her undergraduate degree, Leeann began developing a program as a member of the board of directors for ARCOS Milwaukee, a nonprofit organization that works with underrepresented Milwaukee Public School students on a local and global scale over a six month period. Leeann and the students traveled to Nicaragua and learned from local organizations how they work within their communities to affect positive change. After coming home the students developed and implemented their own community engagement project inspired by their six months of research and the international trip. Leeann continued her work and interest in community engagement and partnership as a project assistant with SARUP’s Community Design Solutions.

While her thesis is in its infancy, Leeann intends to focus her research on conflict areas around the world and their vernacular architectural types. She is interested in developing small scale Home solutions in response to current refugee camp models. She will examine how these small scale Homes can combine to become larger communities that promote people over issues and create communities, not problems.

Introducing Leeann Soo Wacker, 2017 Leenhouts Scholar
Berkeley Prize
Bella Biwer, BSAS 2017 Spring


Change Dual Purpose Chair from a lounge chair to a normal seat in one easy motion by flipping up the legs, the two sections fit together perfectly without a hassle

2017 Nemschoff Chair Student Design Competition
Danielle Leigh Pacheco’s chair design wins 1st Place Award

PHD Student Receives National Fellowships

Yuko Nakamura received the highly competitive Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship and the National Pre-doctoral Fellowship from the Humanities Without Walls Consortium, Chicago, IL. The Humanities Without Walls consortium links the humanities centers at 15 research universities throughout the Midwest and beyond. By leveraging the strengths of multiple distinctive campuses, the consortium aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation.
Nakamura presented at the 2017 Asian Studies Conference Japan, the Society of Architectural Historians Conference | Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, the American Folklore Society/International Society for Folk Narrative Research Joint Annual Meeting in Miami, the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs in Urbana-Champaign, the 8th Biennial Urban History Association Conference in Chicago, and the Vernacular Architecture Forum Conference in Durham, NC.

2017 1st prize, Benn-Johnck Award
James Worker (M.Arch ‘17) for his proposal called Veiled Museum: Museum of Wisconsin Art Milwaukee for the AIA Chicago Award in Architecture student competition.

McNair Scholars

“The McNair Scholars Program is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.”

Associate Professor Arijit Sen mentored these McNair Scholars: Tommy Yang (2016), Teonna Cooksey (2016), and Jared Schmitz (2017).

AIAS Sandcastle Competition
Associate Professor and Chair, Karl Wallick reviews sandcastles at the Bradford Beach competition