2024 Roula Alakiotou Scholarship


Established in 2019 through the generous $100,000 endowment by Roula Alakiotou—pronounced “Roola Alah-kyo-too”—an original member of Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA), and recipient of the Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation (CWAF) Lifetime Achievement Award, this annual scholarship began in 2021 and recognizes strong women architecture students in their final year of study for academic and leadership achievements. “With this scholarship,” Roula stated, “I intend to support the continued growth of diversity of the future for women architects,” embodying her long-standing involvement and belief in the CWA community.

The open application will be released in the fall and or eligible students are invited to apply. Applications will be reviewed by a jury including CWA Executive Committee members, officers from the CWAF Board of Directors, and other recognized architecture practitioners. In 2021, the opening year for this scholarship, we awarded two winners. This year, as in 2022/2023, one winner will be celebrated at the CWA Spring Brunch. Roula Scholarship recipients will receive the unrestricted $5,000 award, a one-year membership to CWA, two tickets to attend the CWA Spring Brunch event, and their credentials will be featured on the CWA website.

About Roula Alakiotou

Roula Alakiotou, FAIA, established her Chicago-based eponymous firm, Roula Associates Architects, Chtd., in 1980 after completing her master’s with honors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1978). Her study of architecture began in Roula’s native Greece, at the Athens Technological Institute, and continued at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she received her bachelor’s with honors (1975). Throughout her career, Roula has established herself as a leader in women-owned architectural firms and developed her practice specializing in large-scale public sector projects—spanning from Greece to the American Midwest. Additionally, Roula has taught at University of Illinois at Chicago; mentors international architecture students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; serves as a juror for many student panels and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Metal and Firm Award juries.

Roula was elevated by her peers as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) in 1997. In 2018, she was named the CWAF Lifetime Achievement Awardee and was recently recognized as one of Crain’s 2020 Notable Women in Construction and Design. She is a member of the Chicago Architectural Club, the Chicago Network, Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA), and The Executives’ Club of Chicago. Previously, Roula served on the board of directors of the International Women’s Forum (IWF). She is currently on the board of the Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation.

Learn more here: http://www.roularchitects.com/.


Applicants must be female architecture students scheduled to graduate in the academic year for which they are applying (this year, AY23-24, December 2023 and May 2024) with a M. Arch or a five-year B. Arch degree, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5/4.0, from a National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB)-accredited architecture program.

Eligible Institutions:

  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Judson University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
  • Ball State University
  • University of Notre Dame

There is no limit of student submissions per school.

Application includes:

  • A digital portfolio of completed work during her studies
    • Consider this to be a portfolio that you would present to a firm you’d like to join. This typically shows your best work! We’d recommend showing both your design and technical skills in this portfolio.
  • Student Transcripts (Official or Unofficial + Letter of Attestation – see Submission Guidelines for specific instructions)
  • An academic letter of recommendation (1-page limit) from a professor. This letter should specifically address the student’s scholastic and leadership performance, as attested to by the student’s professors. It should also specify the program and expected graduation date of the Applicant.
  • One (1) personal letters of reference. These letters should speak to the Applicant’s leadership within the community and within architecture. They should be written by individuals who can provide insight into the applicant’s character, leadership, and community involvement. They may include professors, religious leaders, community organization staff, current or previous employers, or other members of the community – family members excluded.

** Note! The Dean letter of recommendation is no longer required! **

Submission Process:

  1. Fill out the Registration Form on the CWA website to receive the ID number.
  2. You will receive an email from the Scholarship Committee with a link to upload your documents.
  3. Each scholarship submission should be comprised of PDF files:
    • Digital Portfolio
    • Transcripts (if official transcripts are submitted directly by the Applicant)
    • Group Work Memorandums (if required)

Recommenders should submit their letters directly to scholarship@cwarch.org

  • The ID# of the Applicant should be on the email subject line. The contents of the letters do not need to be anonymized. All digital forms of letters of recommendation must originate directly from the institution or company of the recommender and should be PDFs.

Please see the submission guidelines for more detailed instructions regarding the submission requirements and our FAQ page for some answers to frequently asked questions.


The application is available in November and due in February. Scholarship winners are announced and celebrated at the annual CWA Spring Brunch in April (date varies).
View the Attestation template here.

December 7th, 2023: Roula Registration opens
EXTENDED!! February 5th 9th, 2024, 12pm CST : Roula Submission Deadline
March 2024: Winners Notified
April 20, 2024: CWA Spring Brunch
*Winners are expected to keep this date open in order to accept the award and exhibit their work

The Group Work Memorandum can be found here.

Scholarship Q&A Presentation
Click here to view