New Bern, S.C. -- The Educational Foundation (EF) of the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA), has announced the winners of five of its professional grants. Since the early years of this 72-year-old global design industry alliance, EF has awarded grants to talented professionals as well as scholarships to high-achieving design students, internationally. Last year, the funds awarded totaled more than $32,000.

“We congratulate all the winners of our professional grants; it’s an impressive group doing very worthwhile endeavors from technology or to the historic preservation arena,” said Merry Mabbett Dean, FIFDA, chairman of the board of the Educational Foundation of IFDA. “While there were a host of qualified applicants, each grant winner perfectly exemplified the goals of the grant they were awarded – whether further education or professional development, which benefits the industry as a whole, or educational programs as well as technology to assist in off-site collaborations and asynchronous learning that support today’s interior design students.”

IFDA Educational Foundation Grants are offered to all professionals working in the interior design or furnishings related fields, but not to undergraduate students.

Migette L. Kaup, Ph.D, a professor at Kansas State University and an interior designer specializing in gerontological and universal design, won the Irma Dobkin Universal Design Grant open to an individual involved in universal design in: product development; a design project; education; or marketing. The grant will allow Kaup's department to complete a research and educational initiative that will focus on the strategies and values of inclusiveness in design.

Glen Jeff Fulton, Jr., assistant professor of Interior Design at Mississippi State University, was awarded the Ina Mae Kaplan Historic Preservation Grant for those involved in restoring or preserving historic sites related to design/furnishings. The grant will go towards research to develop a master’s program in Historic Preservation under the umbrella of the Interior Design Program in the School of Architecture, Art and Design at the university.

The Elizabeth Brown Grant to Interior Design Programs is given to an accredited U.S. interior design program for supplementary materials/resources and not an individual. The winner was the Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Sally Ann Swearingen, associate professor of Interior Design/Construction Management, and Joseph Strahl, data and technology manager for the University, applied for the grant. The grant will be used towards the purchase of visual, sound and interactive technology equipment to enable students in remote locations to work together and enhance the quality of the experience. Approximately 75 of the interior design students utilize the studio on campus, while another 20 students join the course electronically from the Houston area.

IFDA member Diane Williams, past president of International Decorative Artisans League and owner of Art to Di For in Richmond, Va., was awarded the Tony Torrice Professional Development Grant open to professionals in design/furnishings seeking to enhance skills with advanced study. With a decorative painting career spanning 20 years of experience, Williams creates custom innovative finishes in high-end residential and commercial venues. She will use her grant to attend the IDAL (International Decorative Artists League Convention) as well as the upcoming Society of Gilders conference, where she will grow her abilities in using gold leaf. What’s more, she presented a CEU at High Point Fall Market last year and will be writing a new course for presentation at this year’s market.

Nelly Arnold, founder and principal designer of personalspace, won the Valerie Moran Memorial Grant awarded to an IFDA professional interested in expanding their horizons through travel, trade shows, and professional development studies. With her grant funds, Arnold is going to attend a two-week course in London on trend forecasting offered by Istituto Marangoni. With a deep past in retail product development and visual merchandising, Arnold's signature is working with local artisans to create custom textiles, furniture, and homewares for her projects. She serves on the board of the IFDA Philadelphia Chapter and volunteers with the Philadelphia Furniture Bank and Pathways to Housing to abolish homelessness in Philadelphia.

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