Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim (M.Arch '90) is no stranger to firsts. While at SCI-Arc, she won first choice design for implementation of Step Up on Second, a Santa Monica facility for the homeless community with mental illness. At 28, she became the first female project manager in Malaysia working for a commercial property developer in Kuala Lumpur. In 2000, she led a committee at the University Putra Malaysia (UPM) in establishing a new architecture program.
This year, Ibrahim made a multi-year gift to establish the Women in the Built Environment Scholarship at SCI-Arc, the first of its kind at the school. A scholarship recipient herself, Ibrahim has a strong commitment to giving back opportunities to women who may otherwise not have the capacity or support to pursue their academic goals.
Describing herself as a 'late bloomer,' Ibrahim first used her interest in art as a way of communicating what she saw about people and the environment. Upon completion of her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at the University of Washington in 1987, she pursued a MArch at SCI-Arc, where she credits as the place she "finally understood how to put all the complex issues together as an architect." From SCI-Arc, she went on to complete a PhD in Construction Engineering and Management at Stanford in 2005.
Now an Associate Professor and Deputy Dean for Research, Innovations and Graduate studies at the Faculty of Design and Architecture, UPM, Ibrahim actively contributes to research in the field of innovative integrated design for sustainable product development, continuing her legacy of firsts.
The first Women in the Built Environment Scholarship will be awarded in Spring 2011.