Smitha C. Vasan is a graduate from the University of Miami School of Architecture. Originally from the Chicagoland area, she moved back to Chicago from Miami upon her graduation. She has worked in Miami as well as in Chicago on projects spanning a wide range of areas including hospitality, retail, residential, and corporate interiors.
Her interests lie at the intersection of design and community involvement, and this interest is what fuels her desire to see organizations like I-NOMA succeed. This is a time to be lifting each other up and strengthening communities, and Smitha believes that the mind trained in architecture is one that is well equipped to solve problems and promote such goals. She is dedicated to good design and is intrigued by the potential for good design and tactful development to improve communities for the better.
Smitha is looking forward to a year with I-NOMA outreach and programming that will facilitate such improvements. She currently resides in Bronzeville.
For the past decade, Chicago native Jennifer Johnson has worked to better communities through architecture. Having spent time in both the technical design and construction aspects of the industry, Jennifer draws from exposure to all sides of the architectural process.
Jennifer has been an active member of the NOMA since 2007, having served as Parliamentarian, Project Pipeline volunteer, and Seminar Chair for the 2018 NOMA conference. She has also been involved with the My Block, My Hood, My City, the American Institute of Architects’ Architect Barbie Dream House Design project, and volunteers with the local AIA Chicago chapter for architecture workshops with CPS students.
Jennifer plans to continue the legacy of I-NOMA through showcasing its history and strengthening our members through continuing education and service.
Ashlen V. Williams
Growing up in mid-Missouri, Ashlen Williams developed a passion for design and architecture that led her to the University of Kansas to complete her Master of Architecture degree. After graduation, she spent time living in Madrid, Spain, where she fell in love with the energy and rhythm of city living. This experience cemented her decision to settle in Chicago upon her return to the States.
Ashlen’s philosophy is that every new encounter and experience offers critical insight into the human experience, and as a designer, it is her goal to translate this knowledge into architecture that engages and builds up communities.
During her time with I-NOMA, Ashlen has served as a Project Pipeline Camp and Workshop volunteer, and a member of the Professional Development and Marketing committees. Ashlen believes in the values that I-NOMA is founded upon and as Secretary, she plans to support programming that continues to elevate our professional members and foster minority representation in the field through outreach and mentorship.
Mntambo Fisher is a project architect who began his design education at The Ohio State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in architecture before going on to The Illinois Institute of Technology to complete his Master of Architecture degree. With over 13 years of design and building experience, Mntambo has amassed extensive planning and technical knowledge while working on a wide-range of building types on both a national and international scale.
Mntambo believes in the mantra of "Pay It Forward" and supporting outreach organizations that create an opportunity to do just that. Since joining I-NOMA he has served as a volunteer for the Design-Build program, the Project Pipeline Summer Camp and associated workshops, as well as a member of the finance committee in the role of Sponsorship Chair.
Mntambo looks to continue helping I-NOMA in its engagement efforts to promote mentorship and social change through design within the local community for the betterment of our society.
Kim Johnson is an Architectural Designer at Interactive Design Architects. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, she received a B.S in Interior Architecture and Design with a minor in Psychology from Indiana State University and her M.Arch and MS-CEE from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
At the University of Illinois, Kim became involved with NOMAS. Within NOMAS, Kim held the positions of treasurer, and co-president and assisted in bringing back the NOMAS symposium in addition to growing the chapter exceedingly. Upon graduation, Kim continued to be active through the I-NOMA professional chapter, volunteering with the Design-Build and Project Pipeline programs. Those efforts continued as a member of the planning committee for the NOMA 46th annual conference held in Chicago this past October. Kim continues to give back not only through I-NOMA’s mentoring programs and initiatives, but also through PURSUE Scholars, a foundation that provides spiritual, social and financial support to Chicago urban youths.
Her zealous attitude toward the built environment and the role people of color play within the development of the built environment fuels her continued desire to learn, lead, and edify those around her.
Mustapha Williams is a designer at Gensler. Originally from Nashville, Mustapha graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a Prof. B-Arch Degree. While completing a summer internship at Gensler, Mustapha was introduced to I-NOMA and volunteered for Project Pipeline. The camaraderie, professionalism, and leadership among minority design professionals inspired him to help restart the NOMAS Chapter at the University of Tennessee.
Upon returning to Chicago, Mustapha continued hearing the great stories of I-NOMA & NOMA and the amount of influential people that helped to build the organization. He is looking forward to communicating that legacy to the entire body, especially new members coming in. Mustapha believes it is important for members to know the stories of those who came before in order to help find value in this organization. We must understand where we came from and where we still need to go.