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Diversity Scholar Aims to Improve Interaction between Domestic and International Students with Exhibition


Shabnam Kavousi

Shabnam Kavousi

Virginia Tech graduate student Shabnam Kavousi presented An Exhibition on Cultures from Monday, November 10 to Thursday, November 12 in the Art + Architecture Library in Cowgill Hall.

Kavousi, a Ph.D. candidate in the Architecture and Design Research Program in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies held the exhibition as part of the Diversity Scholars program.

Shabnam’s vision for the exhibition was to embrace diversity and improve the interaction between domestic and international students. She believes that by enhancing the informal interactions among students through multicultural events, students become conscious learners and critical thinkers.

The call for objects requested media, pottery, fabric, calligraphy, and more from countries and cultures around the world.

Shabnam gathered more than 50 objects from more than 25 countries around the world as well as objects from Florida, Alaska, and Virginia.

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The purpose of the exhibition was to serve in:

  • Enhancing the informal interactions among students through the creation of a multi-cultural exhibition
  • Motivating students to promote their culture and represent the respective craftsmanship that has developed there
  • Providing the opportunity for students to become familiar with different aspects of other cultures from different countries and states
  • Providing an educational environment where students can learn from each other in experiencing the crafts across cultures and backgrounds
  • Increasing the understanding of forms of material arts and objects that arise from specific cultures

Diversity scholars are graduate students who specialize in and advocate for the awareness, knowledge, and skills associated with diversity and inclusion in the Graduate School and greater community. A diversity scholar’s goal is to create dialogue, provide advocacy, and implement change for a more diverse and inclusive experience for all graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators. This involvement can take place in many forms and can be specific to a particular curriculum or department, or it can be more global.

Kavousi’s research interest is in student cognitive learning processes in the domain of architectural design problem solving. During the time of her Ph.D., she received a Master of Arts in Education (MAED in Curriculum and Instruction) focused on education psychology in 2014. Shabnam also holds an M.S. of Landscape Architecture from the University of Putra Malaysia since 2010. In addition, she has the “Future Professoriate Graduate” and “Cognition and Education” certificates offered by the Graduate School at Virginia Tech.