Local architect Michelle Acosta of SmithGroupJJR’s Phoenix office was one of 18 recipients across the nation to receive the 2018 Young Architects Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The AIA Young Architects Award recognizes professionals who have been licensed 10 years or fewer, regardless of their age. It honors those who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession early in their careers.

Michelle Acosta, AIA, EDAC is a healthcare project manager at SmithGroupJJR’s Phoenix office. She joined the firm in 2016 and is currently serving as the project manager for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Northeast Ambulatory Care Clinic and the campus masterplan for the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.

Acosta has been an been active and dedicated member of the American Institute of Architects since she joined Arizona State University’s student chapter, where she helped grow the chapter from 20 members to more than 100. This was the beginning of more than a decade of significant leadership roles within AIA. After becoming the associate director of AIA Phoenix Metro, she took on the role of regional associate director for AIA Western Mountain Region, where she was honored with the 2008 AIA WMR Directors’ Recognition Award.

In 2014, Michelle relocated to Los Angeles and joined AIA Pasadena & Foothill (AIAPF) and within the same year was elected the 2016 Chapter President, becoming only the sixth female president in its 68-year history. In this role, she increased the diversity of its board of directors and established new ways to attract and mentor younger members. Today, she remains active with AIA, serving as Diversity and Equity Chairperson for AIA Arizona.

Acosta graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Design.

Founded in 1857, The American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.

SmithGroupJJR is the only firm with multiple honorees in this year’s class of 18 award recipients, which also included Stephen Parker, AIA, NCARB LEED AP BD+C, an architect and planner at SmithGroupJJR’s Washington D.C. office.