For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Rachael Cowan

1065

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

Bio

My reason for pursuing a career in Interior Architecture began with my passion for both creativity and technicality. However, as I inch closer towards completing my educational journey, I have begun to realize my larger purpose as a designer. With only 452 black, female architects nationwide, I am striving to normalize the presence of diversity in the design community, and set a precedent for women who look like me. I'm in the process of starting a design firm specializing in residential and superyacht design, and am in search of channels to supplement my entrepreneurial journey.

Education

Florida International University

Master's degree program
2016 - 2021
  • Majors:
    • Interior Architecture

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Design

    • Dream career goals:

      company founder and ceo

    • Manager

      LooksbyLo, LLC
      2016 – 20182 years
    • Junior Designer

      Tomas Tillberg Design
      2019 – Present5 years

    Sports

    Soccer

    Varsity
    2010 – 20144 years

    Research

    • Interior Architecture

      Independent — Graduate Researcher
      2020 – Present

    Arts

    • Tomas Tillberg Design

      Design
      Sunstone Expedition Vessels
      2019 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    African-American Entrepreneurs Grant — Female Award
    For many years, I believed I wanted to graduate, move to New York City, and land a job working for a big design firm. While this idea still sounds enchanting, I've come to a point of realizing that my real value lies in entrepreneurship and advocacy. Let me explain. As the only person of color -- male or female -- in my graduating class, it's easy to feel somewhat isolated at times. It can be frustrating to see the majority of your class' parents pay their tuition in full each semester, as you watch your student loan balance increase by the tens of thousands. With only 452 black, female architects nationwide, the underrepresentation of people who look like me in the design industry is overwhelming. That being said, I am not a victim, nor will I ever be. As a former wardrobe stylist, closet designer, and visual merchandiser, my reason for pursuing a Master's degree in Interior Architecture began with my passion for design. However, as I inch closer and closer towards my goal, I'm realizing a much larger purpose -- to become a household name in the design industry and set a precedent for young, black women considering this career. In all my years of design school -- all the research, history courses, and precedent studies -- we have not learned about a single black architect (and definitely not a black, female architect). I want to change that. I want to challenge not only the boundaries of design itself, but challenge the narrative that surrounds the entire design industry. Design is not simply a moment. It's not the chair you sit in or the wallpaper lining a corridor. Design assesses the current human condition and decides how we can move forward. Life experiences largely shape our design decisions and objectives. The house we grew up in. The clothes we wear. The climate of our hometown. The music we listen to. The scent of our mother's perfume. All of these aspects -- consciously or subconsciously -- affect our design outcome. African Vernacular Architecture is extremely different from Classical Roman Achitecture, and someone from Ghana will have a much different design perspective than someone from Rome. Is it not fair then to ask, who's experiences are shaping the built environment we live in? And furthermore, are these experiences relevant to all of us, or only a select few? The lack of representation of people of color in the design field has left us with a gap in environmental experiences. My goal is to fill this gap by leading my own firm, which I'm currently in the process of launching, and to hire minorities and people of color, who's marginalized experiences may pave the way to innovation. I believe that by doing this, we will see an advancement of design like we have never seen before. I believe my experiences as a minority student who has continually excelled have put me in a position to be a leader, and given me the opportunity to put diversity and representation at the forefront of my career. I do not know if I will win this scholarship, but I do know that I will win the long race -- I will get black women the representation they deserve in a field that so badly needs them.
    Black Design Leaders Grant
    As the only person of color -- male or female -- in my graduating class, it's easy to feel somewhat isolated at times. It can be frustrating to see the majority of your class' parents pay their tuition in full each semester, as you watch your student loan balance increase by the tens of thousands. With only 452 black, female architects nationwide, the underrepresentation of people who look like me in the design industry is overwhelming. That being said, I am not a victim, nor will I ever be. As a former wardrobe stylist, closet designer, and visual merchandiser, my reason for pursuing a Master's degree in Interior Architecture began with my passion for design. However, as I inch closer and closer towards my goal, I'm realizing a much larger purpose -- to become a household name in the design industry and set a precedent for young, black women considering this career. In all my years of design school -- all the research, history courses, and precedent studies -- we have not learned about a single black architect (and definitely not a black, female architect). I want to change that. I want to challenge not only the boundaries of design itself, but challenge the narrative that surrounds the entire design industry. Design is not simply a moment. It's not the chair you sit in or the wallpaper lining a corridor. Design assesses the current human condition and decides how we can move forward. Life experiences largely shape our design decisions and objectives. The house we grew up in. The clothes we wear. The climate of our hometown. The music we listen to. The scent of our mother's perfume. All of these aspects -- consciously or subconsciously -- affect our design outcome. African Vernacular Architecture is extremely different from Classical Roman Achitecture, and someone from Ghana will have a much different design perspective than someone from Rome. Is it not fair then to ask, who's experiences are shaping the built environment we live in? And furthermore, are these experiences relevant to all of us, or only a select few? The lack of representation of people of color in the design field has left us with a gap in environmental experiences. My goal is to fill this gap by leading my own firm, which I'm currently in the process of launching, and to hire minorities and people of color, who's marginalized experiences may pave the way to innovation. I believe that by doing this, we will see an advancement of design like we have never seen before. I believe my experiences as a minority student who has continually excelled have put me in a position to be a leader, and given me the opportunity to put diversity and representation at the forefront of my career. I do not know if I will win this scholarship, but I do know that I will win the long race -- I will get black women the representation they deserve in a field that so badly needs them.
    Annual Black Entrepreneurship Grant
    For many years, I believed I wanted to graduate, move to New York City, and land a job working for a big design firm. While this idea still sounds enchanting, I've come to a point of realizing that my real value lies in entrepreneurship and advocacy. Let me explain. As the only person of color -- male or female -- in my graduating class, it's easy to feel somewhat isolated at times. It can be frustrating to see the majority of your class' parents pay their tuition in full each semester, as you watch your student loan balance increase by the tens of thousands. With only 452 black, female architects nationwide, the underrepresentation of people who look like me in the design industry is overwhelming. That being said, I am not a victim, nor will I ever be. As a former wardrobe stylist, closet designer, and visual merchandiser, my reason for pursuing a Master's degree in Interior Architecture began with my passion for design. However, as I inch closer and closer towards my goal, I'm realizing a much larger purpose -- to become a household name in the design industry and set a precedent for young, black women considering this career. In all my years of design school -- all the research, history courses, and precedent studies -- we have not learned about a single black architect (and definitely not a black, female architect). I want to change that. I want to challenge not only the boundaries of design itself, but challenge the narrative that surrounds the entire design industry. Design is not simply a moment. It's not the chair you sit in or the wallpaper lining a corridor. Design assesses the current human condition and decides how we can move forward. Life experiences largely shape our design decisions and objectives. The house we grew up in. The clothes we wear. The climate of our hometown. The music we listen to. The scent of our mother's perfume. All of these aspects -- consciously or subconsciously -- affect our design outcome. African Vernacular Architecture is extremely different from Classical Roman Achitecture, and someone from Ghana will have a much different design perspective than someone from Rome. Is it not fair then to ask, who's experiences are shaping the built environment we live in? And furthermore, are these experiences relevant to all of us, or only a select few? The lack of representation of people of color in the design field has left us with a gap in environmental experiences. My goal is to fill this gap by leading my own firm, which I'm currently in the process of launching, and to hire minorities and people of color, who's marginalized experiences may pave the way to innovation. I believe that by doing this, we will see an advancement of design like we have never seen before. I believe my experiences as a minority student who has continually excelled have put me in a position to be a leader, and given me the opportunity to put diversity and representation at the forefront of my career. I do not know if I will win this scholarship, but I do know that I will win the long race -- I will get black women the representation they deserve in a field that so badly needs them.
    Opportunity for Black Women Scholarship
    As the only person of color -- male or female -- in my graduating class, it's easy to feel somewhat isolated at times. It can be frustrating to see the majority of your class' parents pay their tuition in full each semester, as you watch your student loan balance increase by the tens of thousands. With only 452 black, female architects nationwide, the underrepresentation of people who look like me in the design industry is overwhelming. That being said, I am not a victim, nor will I ever be. As a former wardrobe stylist, closet designer, and visual merchandiser, my reason for pursuing a Master's degree in Interior Architecture began with my passion for design. However, as I inch closer and closer towards my goal, I'm realizing a much larger purpose -- to become a household name in the design industry and set a precedent for young, black women considering this career. In all my years of design school -- all the research, history courses, and precedent studies -- we have not learned about a single black architect (and definitely not a black, female architect). I want to change that. I want to challenge not only the boundaries of design itself, but challenge the narrative that surrounds the entire design industry. Design is not simply a moment. It's not the chair you sit in or the wallpaper lining a corridor. Design assesses the current human condition and decides how we can move forward. Life experiences largely shape our design decisions and objectives. The house we grew up in. The clothes we wear. The climate of our hometown. The music we listen to. The scent of our mother's perfume. All of these aspects -- consciously or subconsciously -- affect our design outcome. African Vernacular Architecture is extremely different from Classical Roman Architecture, and someone from Ghana will have a much different design perspective than someone from Rome. Is it not fair then to ask, who's experiences are shaping the built environment we live in? And furthermore, are these experiences relevant to all of us, or only a select few? The lack of representation of people of color in the design field has left us with a gap in environmental experiences. My goal is to fill this gap by leading my own firm, which I'm currently in the process of launching, and to hire minorities and people of color, who's marginalized experiences may pave the way to innovation. I believe that by doing this, we will see an advancement of design like we have never seen before. I believe my experiences as a minority student who has continually excelled have put me in a position to be a leader, and given me the opportunity to put diversity and representation at the forefront of my career. I do not know if I will win this scholarship, but I do know that I will win the long race -- I will get black women the representation they deserve in a field that so badly needs them.