AIA New Jersey – Blazing Trails with Women at the Helm for over 38 years!

December 19, 2018

AIA New Jersey – Blazing Trails with Women at the Helm for over 38 years!


This past weekend, the New York Times published an opinion piece suggesting reasons why architecture graduates, who are approximately 50/50 male to female, shift to 80% male and 20% female by the time they are registered. Check out the article here

With a stocked pipeline like this, it is critical for those recent graduates to find female role models and mentors in leadership positions to support, encourage and demonstrate what a successful, influential, woman architect looks like. AIA New Jersey believes strongly in this idea and has been fortunate to attract such figures to serve in their leadership over the last 38 years, 7 years earlier than even AIA national! 



1985 President Eleanore K. Pettersen, FAIA


Robin Murray, FAIA

2000 President Robin L. Murray, FAIA


2009 President Stacey R. Kliesch, AIA


2015 President Kimberly L. Bunn, AIA


2018 President Verity L. Frizzell, FAIA


2019 President Judith Donnelly, AIA

Of particular note, each of these women has been or are a firm principal or sole practitioner during their term. They each have served with confidence and made a positive impact on the society during their tenure, resulting in the encouragement of future women climbing the ladder, each time more rapidly behind them.

As AIA NJ begins the term of our 6th female president, Judith Donnelly, AIA, we think back to our first female president, Ms. Pettersen. Eleanore was not only a leader in our organization but an internationally renowned designer. After studying under Frank Lloyd Wright, Pettersen became New Jersey’s first female licensed architect and the first woman to open her own private practice, which was located in Saddle River. Read more about this great architect here


2018 Sold-Out AIA NJ Women in Architecture Brunch

In 2019, 4 out of the 6 local sections of AIA NJ will have female presidents, in addition to the female State President, and Immediate Past-president Frizzell running for national office. Christina Amey, AIA, will continue her role as president of AIA South Jersey. Jessica O’Donnell, AIA, will begin her term as president of AIA West Jersey, in addition to her national position as Knowledge Director for the Young Architects Forum. Donna Terzano, AIA, will return to the position of president of AIA Central Jersey. AIA Jersey Shore’s Marissa Iamello, AIA, begins her presidential term in January, as well. Regional Associate Representative Megan Pritts, Associate AIA, will also continue to serve the state membership. 

With such a force of female leadership plus the new AIA NJ Equity in Architecture and revamped Women in Architecture Committees alive and active, there is more opportunity than ever within AIA NJ for architecture students, associates and licensees to find a sister to show them the way to their own success story. 


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2 responses to “AIA New Jersey – Blazing Trails with Women at the Helm for over 38 years!”

  1. Brian W. Penschow, AIA says:

    Retaining women in architecture is a component of the solution to the problem of not finding qualified candidates for employment. This is VERY important for the profession. This is WHY male architects should care.

  2. William Hamilton says:

    We have four women in our office, All have been qualified by NCARB to take the exam. We have purchased study materials and have offered to pay for the initial test fees. Have even tried to set up an afternoon study group. They are not interested in taking the test. They instead have expressed that being LEED or Well certified is more important to them. Must be a millennium mindset.



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