Alex Foundation partners with JAWCC for annual architecture + design summer camp

The Alex Foundation in partnership with J. Austin White Cultural Center (JAWCC) recently held its annual architecture + design summer camp at Eudora for 12 to 14-year-old youth.

Nakita Reed

On the first day of camp, youth participated in digital designs with Nakita Reed, an award-winning architect with experience throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Reed is skilled in the preservation, restoration, and adaptive use of historic buildings, with a focus on sustainable strategies in design and construction.

She has a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia. She is a registered architect, a LEED-Accredited Professional, and a certified Passive House Consultant.

In 2012, she co-founded a woman-owned boutique architecture firm that specializes in historic preservation and sustainable design. She joined Quinn Evans’ Baltimore office as an Associate in 2019.

Stacey McAdoo

The second part of the first day was co-led by educators Stacey and Ron McAdoo. The team kicked off their instructions with an “architecture is cool” chant. Stacey McAdoo is the founding Arkansas State Director for Teach Plus and the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. She spent 19 years in the Little Rock School District as an accomplished classroom practitioner, college and career readiness coordinator, and the lead secondary novice mentor teacher for the entire district. As a professional development facilitator for more than two decades, she designs and leads sessions that focus on best practices, instructional strategies, empowering student and teacher voice, and promoting equity and the success of diverse learners.

Stacey is the founder of The Writeous Poets (a spoken word & youth advocacy collective), an appointed board member of the Central Arkansas Library System, and a member of the National Arts in Education Advisory Council. Additionally, she has also served on the Arkansas State Board of Education, Teach Plus’ Arkansas Teacher Policy Advisory Board, and the design thinking Phoenix Project. Stacey holds a BA in Professional & Technical Writing, a MA in Teaching and is finishing up an advanced graduate degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessments.

New Hope Church

Youth participated in two historic tours on the second day of camp in Lake Village. They toured the New Hope Baptist Church, the oldest Black church in the State of Arkansas, and Lakeport Plantation Museum. Amy Milliken, the education outreach coordinator with the Arkansas Department of Heritage, led the New Hope Baptist Church tour. Lakeport Plantation Museum staff led the Museum tour.

While at Lakeport, youth had an opportunity to fly drones. Life Skills For Youth executive director, Larry Clark and Sean Clark were on hand to engage the youth. Jesse Robinson of McGehee served as van driver to the historic sites’ tours.

Engineering Project

On day three, camp participants were introduced to No Small Plans, a graphic novel that follows the neighborhood adventures of teens in Chicago’s past, present and future as they wrestle with designing the city they want, need, and deserve. After reading and discussing the book, youth were introduced to a design challenge to construct their future City of Eudora and to present their design on the last day of camp.

During their fourth day, campers learned how architects and engineers are allied professionals and how they work together. James Canatella of Lake Village and Mike Caulfield of Greenville, both with Greenville based W.L. Burle Engineers, P.A., gave a presentation on civil and structural engineering. The campers were involved with an engineering activity on pressure, weight and force using a metal weight.

Dr. Ray Montague

The fourth day also gave campers a glimpse into the world of STEM as it relates to white collar crimes and cyber criminals with Dr. Ray Montague of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Montague is the son of Mrs. Raye Montague, Arkansas’s “Hidden Figure”. The late Mrs. Montague was an American naval engineer who created the first computer-generated code of a U.S. naval ship. She was the first female program manager of ships in the United States Navy, and was the engineer who designed the first code for naval ships.

Dr. Montague is executive director of online learning and faculty mentoring at UALR, working directly under the university’s provost. Dr. Montague is a tenured full professor of criminal justice and occasionally volunteers to teach classes. For 16 years, he has been a proponent of innovative solutions to education in online, hybrid, and face-to-face settings.

Prior to joining higher education, he completed federal investigations for 14 years in law enforcement and intelligence capacities working for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration as a diversion investigator, the United States JFK Assassination Records Review Board as the senior investigator, and as a consultant on national security matters with U.S. Investigations Services, Inc. Dr. Montague has PhD at Howard University, MA at George Washington University, and a BA at Morehouse College.

On the last day of summer camp, campers presented their future City of Eudora models.

On hand as judges of the design challenge were Eudora Mayor Tomeka Butler and Chief of Police Carl McCree.

Elijah Stanton and Dana Solorio tied for first place. Elijah’s design was an industrial park and Dana’s design was a pop-up park.

Jer’Don Hunt                                              Eric Mondragon

Jer’Don Hunt placed second with his design for a spike trap to help the police apprehend criminals. Eric Mondragon placed third with his soccer field design.

First place winners received $50, second place received $25, and third place received $15. The designs were selected based on creativity, originality, benefit for citizens, knowledge, and presentation.

Jaiden Washington digital design

In the digital design category, Jaiden Washington won first place and received $50 for most accomplished. Elijah Stanton won second place and received $25 for most proficient. Nakita Reed judged the designs.

Other activities throughout the week included building a house shelf, and painting designs on canvas.

Amy Milliken with students

Two Alex Foundation summer interns, Kathy Mondragon of Lake Village and Janett Solorio of Eudora, worked with the youth throughout the camp, mentoring, teaching, providing resources, and supporting the students. Kathy and Janett are 2021 Lakeside School District graduates embarking upon their respective college educational pursuits in STEM. Janett is a biology major on a premed track, and Kathy is a nursing major.

The architecture + design camp in Eudora was the last of three summer camps hosted by the Alex Foundation and its partners, of which all were free to participants due to the generosity of funders, donors, sponsors, and supporters.

About Alex Foundation
Alex Foundation, a 501 C 3 nonprofit organization, was established in 2010 to provide students learning experiences in architecture, design, and the built environment. For more information, visit

About J. Austin White Cultural Center
J. Austin White Cultural Center is a 501 C 3 nonprofit organization offering music, art, theater and other activities for children and youth in Southeast Arkansas.


Alex Foundation hosts 2 architecture + design summer camps at Belmont Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi


Youth from Dermott, McGehee, Lake Village and Greenville, Mississippi recently attended the Alex Foundation’s annual architecture + design summer camps. The 2-week camps were held at the Belmont Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi.

Emily Poole

The camp for the rising 7th grade students was made possible through grants and sponsorships, allowing campers attend at no cost with all of their supplies, materials, snacks, meals and transportation were provided.

Greenville-based Architect Emily Poole of Emily Poole Architecture, LLC presented the campers with a history of architecture and the important role architects contribute to society. Poole used a vacant lot to demonstrate how sustainable designs complement a community and guided the campers in designing a model of a downtown greenspace.

Poole is a graduate of Mississippi State University School of Architecture.

Garver Engineers of Little Rock, one of the camp sponsors, gave a presentation to campers on city mapping, civil engineering, building cities, and designing bridges.

Garver Engineers presentation

In addition to learning about architecture and engineering, campers designed house-themed edible cookies; selected fabrics for their interior furnishings; toured Belmont Plantation and Akin Complete Furniture in Dumas; flew drones; built ottomans and wall ascents; and sketched and designed buildings on t-shirts.