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NewSchool Names Melina Aluwi ‘Alumni of the Year’

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Published on:

March 9, 2021


NewSchool Names Melina Aluwi ‘Alumni of the Year’

SAN DIEGO – March 9, 2021 – NewSchool of Architecture & Design (NewSchool) is proud to name Melina Aluwi (’10) its 2020 Alumni of the Year Award recipient.

Since graduating from NewSchool in 2010 with her Master’s in Architecture, Melina Aluwi has continuously given back to the San Diego Community. Aluwi, an award-winning architecture and design leader, has served and volunteered for many local professional organizations. She has also worked for several prominent San Diego architecture firms. In her current role as Associate Principal and Higher Education Studio Leader for Harley Ellis Devereaux’s (HED) San Diego office, she is overseeing the development of a multi-phase campus expansion for a private university. Aluwi has also served on NewSchool’s Alumni Advisory Board as the Mentorship Committee Chair and Alumni Board President. She founded NewSchool’s Alumni Mentorship Program and was awarded NewSchool Alumni Mentor of the Year.

Lisa Ganem, NewSchool Director of Career & Alumni Services, explains: “Melina Aluwi received several enthusiastic nominations from Principals and Architects praising her attributes as a designer, contributing as a leader, and engaging through volunteerism.  Most notably, her expertise in environmental performance in developing LEED-Certified projects, her inspirational volunteerism with mentoring Alumni, serving the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), contributions as a panelist for the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH), and as a founding member of the San Diego Chapter for National Organization of Minority Architects were highlighted and praised. Not only this, but Melina has progressed throughout her career serving as an Architect and Studio Leader for a local boutique firm, Managing Director for LPA Design Studios, and most recently performing in the capacity of Associate Principal for Harley Ellis Devereaux. The roster of educational facilities and community projects she has contributed to is impressive and includes the San Diego Comic-Con Museum, which will open its doors this year. For these reasons, the Alumni Board voted unanimously to move forward with selecting Melina Aluwi as our Alumna of the Year for 2020.”

Neville Willsmore, HED Managing Principal, describes Aluwi’s unique contributions: “She brings a passion for design, commitment to mentorship, and knowledge sharing that is integral to our office culture and growth…Melina exemplifies all of the attributes to which undergraduates and postgraduates in architecture should aspire – the balance of design sensitivity coupled with business and community sensibility is admirable and certainly worthy of wider broadcast through Alumni recognition.”

Aluwi, who received her B.S. in Accounting and a Minor in Architecture from USC in 2005, explains: “NewSchool gave me the opportunity to explore a different path, pursue a passion, and transform it into a career that I love…NewSchool challenged me to push myself beyond my limits and discover what I was capable of achieving.” She mentions “the collaboration and mentorship” with her professors and classmates as her most memorable experience at NewSchool.

For more information about the NewSchool of Architecture & Design Alumni of the Year Award, please contact Jessica Nielsen at

About NewSchool of Architecture & Design:

Located in San Diego’s design district, NewSchool of Architecture & Design prepares students for career success in design fields with an emphasis on human-centered design, including interdisciplinary and global design skills, industry collaborations, and real-world projects. Programs include architecture, construction management, product design, graphic design & interactive media, and interior architecture & design. NewSchool is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission and offers Bachelor and Master of Architecture programs, accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NewSchool prepares students to successfully work in global and diverse organizations. For more information, visit