Drumroll please! Introducing the inaugural class of students selected for the Thermador Diversity in Design Pipeline!

Thermador is proud to announce the students who have been selected for scholarship and mentorship, and to launch this all-new initiative. Each student was selected to be a part of this program for their ambition and unique talents in the design industry. We’re thrilled to kick things off with this exceptional group of students and their amazing group of established mentors who are committed to guiding the next generation of designers!

Let’s dive into the details below.


What is the Diversity in Design Pipeline?

This year, Thermador launched its Diversity in Design Pipeline (DDP) initiative in partnership with the Interior Design Society (IDS). The program focuses on advancing diversity in the design sector by providing interior design students from underrepresented communities with the essential tools needed to successfully enter the competitive industry. This includes a comprehensive tuition scholarship package of $10,000, and a tailored year-long mentorship program with an esteemed designer. Additionally, recipients receive IDS membership, access to trade events, and local and nationwide networking opportunities within the interior design community.

Interior design students from underrepresented communities interested in the scholarship, along with certified designers interested in becoming mentors applied through the Interior Design Society and were chosen by the IDS Selection Committee.


Why was it created?

The design industry has recognized there is a need to address diversity and inclusion. As interior designers are a crucial cornerstone of its brand, Thermador seeks to help accelerate progress toward a more diverse design industry by empowering underrepresented students with scholarships, mentoring, and professional development opportunities to give them a strong start in the field. Realizing this essential need, Thermador commissioned an extensive survey of interior designers to determine how to best support the interior design industry. It was evident that diversity was a significant issue, as were access to scholarships and mentorships.

The outcome was a program dedicated to overcoming the barriers for interior design students, especially those from underrepresented communities. The Interior Design Society was determined to be an invaluable partner given its extensive network of interior designers, local and national events, coupled with the launch of its recently founded Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


Meet Our Students & Mentors

Now, Thermador is proud to announce its inaugural class of scholarship winners for the Diversity in Design Pipeline program, as well as the highly acclaimed interior designer mentors from around the country who will be guiding these students through their final year of school before starting their interior design careers.

These students were selected by a group of esteemed judges because of the passion, perspective, and vision they bring to the table, and we are proud to become a part of each of their individual journeys. Read on to learn more about our students and mentors!

First up, meet Aleah Mazyck, UNC Greensboro.

Aleah is a double major pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing at UNC Greensboro. She is fascinated by both the business and design sides of the industry. Her dream is for these two degrees to meld and provide her with the knowledge and resources to open her own interior design firm.

Aleah has been selected to be paired with Creative Director and CEO of Bria Hammel Interiors, Bria Hammel, as her mentor, who can guide Aleah on marketing an interior design business.

Bria Hammel is the Creative Director and CEO of Bria Hammel Interiors. Bria is also the CEO of Brooke & Lou and Co-Creator of Hammel House & Co. She leads a fresh, talented team of women who are dedicated to designing beautiful, inviting homes for clients. For Bria, every project is about creating a home filled with surprising, thoughtful spaces that lead to unexpected moments. She has an incredible eye for detail and has a passion for designing spaces that tell her clients’ stories. Bria’s work has been featured in national publications such as Traditional Home, HGTV Magazine, House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living, as well as many other local shelter magazines.

Next, please welcome Kayla Martin, California State University.

Kayla is majoring Interior Design at California State University, and she plans to dedicate her design career to making occupant-focused and universally supportive spaces. She wants to use creativity, research, and her life experiences to reach and enrich as many people as possible. To achieve this goal, she wants to start and grow a non-profit design firm focused on upholding and creating all-inclusive environments.

Kayla’s mentor in the program will be Kelly Finley, CEO and Creative Director of Joy Street Design, who is also passionate about non-profits and improving lives through interior design.

Kelly Finley founded Joy Street Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives through transforming spaces, in 2018. Joy Street Initiative believes that restoring dignity and ownership in your living space is extremely important, especially when transitioning out of hardship and/or trauma. Joy Street Design donates 10% of its profits to Joy Street Initiative which (along with vendor support) enables Joy Street Initiative to transform the spaces of local shelters catering to women and children.

Next up, meet Raquel Rodrigues, Texas Tech University.

Raquel is majoring in Interior Design, with a minor in Architecture at Texas Tech University in the department of design. Her career goals first start off with graduating college and working for a firm while she pursues her graduate degree. Her number one goal is to work for a firm that upholds social responsibility within the design field.

Raquel will be working with mentor Liz MacPhail, Founder of Liz MacPhail Interiors, who employs an all-women team of four, and shares a home state of Texas with Raquel.

Liz MacPhail attended The College of William & Mary, attaining a degree in International Economics and Finance, and she spent a year in finance in Washington D.C. and 7 years on NYC’s Madison Ave. When not honing her marketing and business skills, she was studying at Parsons School of Design in the evenings and weekends and later, after a move to Austin, at the Academy of Art. While raising her 3 sons, Liz quietly, and predominantly by word-of-mouth, built-up Liz MacPhail Interiors. She currently employs an all-women team of four, with an ever-growing list of satisfied clients across the country.

Our next DDP scholarship recipient is Jonathan Martin, University of Northern Iowa.

Jonathan is majoring in Interior Design at the University of Northern Iowa. His career goals focus on growing a business into a medium-sized residential interior design business where he can employ great local designers.

Jonathan has been paired with mentor Jonathan Savage, Founder of Savage Interior Design, for his strong interest in residential interior design and desire to open his own practice.

Jonathan Savage spent some of his educational years in England, gleaning a richer knowledge of fine art, sculpture, and antiques at the American University in London. He then earned a BFA in Interior Design from O’More College of Design in Tennessee, where he polished his exceptional technical skills. After working in New York City, he now resides in Palm Beach and Nashville, where he was named 2016’s top designer by Nashville Lifestyles magazine. Jonathan’s primary focus is residential interiors. He has applied his skills and knowledge of history to properties ranging from contemporary downtown lofts to sprawling estates. Key to the SAVAGE design process is having wide-ranging conversations with clients regarding colors, materials, and finishes.

Finally, our last recipient is Chrystal McLeod, Georgia Southern University.

Chrystal is majoring in Interior Design at Georgia Southern University. Her career goals focus on acquiring a junior interior design position within a residential design firm in the southern United States. After gaining more experience within the field, she intends on taking the NCIDQ to show her proficiency in the profession. She also plans on getting the NKBA certification to show her level of professionalism as a specialized kitchen and bath designer.

Chrystal’s mentor will be nationally acclaimed and award-winning designer, Ami Austin, who shares Chrystal’s southern roots and interest in residential interior design.

Ami Austin founded Ami Austin Interior Design in Memphis, TN in 2004. Her breadth of design knowledge and her passion for originality lead to memorable, personalized, stunning interiors for residential and commercial clients. Ami is the recipient of numerous design awards, including the Interior Design Society’s prestigious “Designer of the Year” award. Her work and expertise have been featured in many publications, including Interior Design, Romantic Homes, Elle Décor, Lux Life, Architect, Architizer, Residential Architect, Home Accents Today and many more!


A special thank you to our judges!

To select these deserving and talented students, Thermador and IDS created an esteemed group of industry leaders to serve as the program’s Selection Committee. This expert panel selected the students who received this opportunity to kickstart their career upon graduation.

Joy Cho, Oh Joy! Founder – Joy Cho is a graphic designer, blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Creative Director of the lifestyle brand, Oh Joy!, known for bringing joy to the everyday.

Carisha Swanson, House beautiful Market Director – Carisha serves as Market Director for House Beautiful’s print and digital properties. She continues to be a global advocate for expanding consumer knowledge in these key markets.

Justin Williams, HGTV Design Star contestant – Justin is the star of HGTV’s Design Star: NextGen is an Atlanta-based interior designer whose love for décor and design developed into a business where his main goal is to bring quality, as well as affordable designs, to any consumer.

Jeremy Bauer, Co-founder of Bauer/Clifton Interiors – After receiving degrees in Architecture and Architectural Engineering, with concentrations in Art, Landscaping, and City Planning, Jeremy moved to Alaska to begin his first career in design. He now is co-founder of Bauer/Clifton Interiors.

David Santiago, Founder of Casa Santi Interior Design – David Santiago is an award-winning designer and owner of Casa Santi Interior Design established in 2011. s Strictly Santi brand was created as an umbrella brand in 2018 and since then, David launched several additional design related products.

For more information about the Diversity in Design Pipeline program, visit: https://www.thermador.com/us/build-and-design/diversity-in-design