National design competition honors another MSU architecture major

Rashida L. “Mo” Momoh (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Christie McNeal

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A senior West Tennessee architecture major at Mississippi State is continuing the university’s winning tradition in a national urban design competition.

Rashida L. “Mo” Momoh of Cordova finished second in the recent eighth annual Gensler Diversity Scholarship Competition. She is a 2012 graduate of Arlington High School.

Gensler is an international architecture, design and planning firm of more than 5,000 professionals working throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Over the past 16 years, it has provided more than $200,000 in academic awards to students and graduates.

The annual design competition is open to African-American students at all U.S. not-for-profit educational institutions. Entrants must be entering their final year in academic programs that hold National Architectural Accrediting Board certification.

Momoh is the third MSU architecture major to win a top Gensler award in as many years. Larry Travis Jr. of Tougaloo won first place in 2014, while Aryn S. Phillips of Olive Branch finished in second place last year.

“We’ve had a long history with Gensler, so it’s always been in the back of my brain to apply,” Momoh said.

Her competition entry was a project completed earlier in an MSU School of Architecture studio course taught by assistant professor Jacob Gines. Set in New York City’s Manhattan borough and situated near Central Park, it involved the design of a mid-rise building to be constructed primarily of wood.

“The project really challenged me to think about tectonics in a more detailed way than I had the opportunity to in previous semesters,” Momoh explained. A video of her entry may be viewed at

Since all final projects had to be hand-drawn, student designers were required to be more conscientious about composition. “That gave us the opportunity to understand the building at a deeper level than working on a computer would have,” Momoh said.

In addition to a scholarship, she has been offered a paid summer internship with Gensler’s Boston office.

In noting that Boston was her top internship choice, Momoh expressed appreciation to Gensler officials for the honors. The internship “aligns with how I approach architecture in terms of design and what I want to do to help people in the community,” she emphasized.

Looking to the future, she expressed hope that the Boston experience will help greatly enhance her career opportunities. “I’m going to gain so much knowledge about the architecture practice, as well as design for a community,” she said.

To help further expand her marketable skills, Momoh also is pursuing an overseas cooperative education experience that would precede her required fifth and final year of School of Architecture study in Jackson.

For more information about the Gensler Diversity Scholarship, visit

The School of Architecture is a major unit of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design. For more information on the college and school, see

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 3:14 pm