Thomas Gomez Ospina—Fiberglas Canada Inc. Award

About the Award
The Award recognizes the combination of extra-curricular contributions in the field of study related to Architecture/Building/Construction and the academic achievements of a student enrolled full-time in the Department of Architectural Science who has made a notable contribution to professionally-related student activities within the Department of Architectural Science.

Within the Department of Architectural Science, Thomas’ student experience has been enriched by a variety of academic and extra-curricular projects. From his first year at Ryerson, Thomas volunteered and participated in several roles, including as Year-End Show organizer and videographer, serving as the AIAS first-year representative, volunteering for Alumni events, and volunteering for other student-led design-build projects. These contributions evolved into other leadership opportunities as an AIAS Coordinator in his second year while continuing to volunteer in other initiatives, including leading Photoshop tutorials for first-year students, creating a virtual reality project for Toronto’s Doors Open Festival, and helping with King Street installations for ShapeLabTO.

During his third year of studies, Thomas was elected as President of the Ryerson Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), where he gained the opportunity to enhance student experiences through professional development workshops, conferences, software tutorials, community initiatives, and more. Beyond the campus, his role as President allowed him to represent Ryerson DAS at international conferences where Thomas voiced the student community’s values and concerns to enact fundamental changes in the AIAS national organization. Furthermore, Thomas was able to lead his team as successful hosts for the 2020-2021 AIAS FORUM Conference in Toronto, where various members of Thomas’ AIAS team were awarded recognitions for their initiatives.

Whilst leading AIAS, Thomas worked part-time as a Research Assistant with Together Design Lab, where he explored alternative housing models for post-secondary students and homeless indigenous youth in Ontario. Thomas analyzed dozens of community workshops in partnership with Nishnawbe Aski Nation under the supervision of Dr. Shelagh McCartney to produce multiple housing design strategies that addressed concerns of wellbeing in indigenous communities. Balancing full-time academic responsibilities, AIAS leadership commitments, part-time research work, and additional extra-curricular roles as an ACU mentor, member of the 325 Magazine team, photographer for DAS events, and DAS orientation leader challenged Thomas to become a perseverant student.

Thomas has also participated in some design competitions, more recently representing Ryerson internationally by winning First Place in the 2021 ACSA Steel Design competition in which over 1,200 students participated worldwide. This competition was completed whilst balancing separate full-time employment responsibilities as a Ryerson DAS co-op student working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The success of this project was based on the marriage between a critical understanding of steel construction techniques, coherency in architectural design, and a strong emphasis on the social agency. Thomas strongly believes the professional role of the architect is closely tied to the empowerment of communities, such as the one selected for the project, Regent Park. This competition further complimented Thomas’ past experiences in leading several successful design installations in the broader Toronto community, such as Stratum and Tripix, exhibited for the 2018 Gladstone Hotel Grow-Op exhibition and the 2019 Icebreakers competition, respectively. Currently, Thomas continues his involvement at DAS as an ACU mentor, ACU 4th Year Representative, Undergraduate Representative in the Curriculum Advisory Committee, and Research Assistant for ongoing projects with Dr. Colin Ripley and Dr. Shelagh McCartney.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.