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Interior Design Professor from The Ohio State University Named 2023 PAVE Educator of the Year

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Hollywood, Fla. (November 27, 2023)PAVE Global is pleased to announce the recipient of the Second Annual PAVE Educator of the Year Award, proudly sponsored by Tag Worldwide. This award recognizes exceptional full-time educators for their dedication to design education.

Nominated by industry peers, colleagues, administrators, and students, the ideal candidate for this award consistently engages and inspires their students in new and exciting ways, seeks resources and opportunities beyond the classroom to enrich the current curriculum, demonstrates strong leadership within their department, makes significant contributions to the profession and demonstrates excellence in teaching.

In an excerpt from the letter of nomination written by three of her current students, Brooke Koch, Averi Wolf, and Morgan Vereb had this to say- "We are wholeheartedly confident in our nomination for Professor Matheny as PAVE Educator of the Year. She has exhibited, time and time again, her unwavering commitment to go above and beyond for her students, in and out of the classroom. We have been blessed to not only call her a professor, but a mentor. After graduation this coming May, we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Professor Matheny, and hope to make even half of the impact on the future of design as she has." Brooke, Averi, and Morgan have been Matheny's students and research assistants in several different Interior Design courses over the past 4 years.

In excerpts from her letters of support, former student Katherine Hunter (OSU class of 2021, M+A Architects) said "Rebekah is a professor that cares deeply for not only her current students but future and alumni. She elevates every project to a higher standard and persuades her students to think deeper and stretch their limits to become better designers."

"The biggest differentiator I see in Rebekah as a professor is that she believes her students'

perspective as members of Generation Z is their own strength, and they can incorporate their own experiences and views into how they learn about design. For a student, this is very empowering, and it allows them to connect even deeper to the material in the curriculum as something moving and relevant," said Royce Epstein, A&D Design Director, Mohawk Group."I believe that Rebekah is trying to change the model of design education."

Her final letter of support came from former students Emma Waters (OSU class of 2020, Gensler Chicago) and Tyler Hatton (OSU class of 2020, WSA) who closed out their letter with the following sentiment- "If it is not abundantly clear, Rebekah genuinely believes in her students and supports them in any way she can. Our successes would not be possible without her support, and we only hope to one day be the type of mentor that Rebekah has been to us. We wholeheartedly believe that Rebekah deserves to be awarded the PAVE Global Educator of the Year because to us, and to many others, she is the educator of our careers."

In addition to being honored next Thursday, December 7th at the PAVE Gala, Rebekah and Ohio State’s Department of Design will each be awarded $1,500 grants. A Special Thank You to Our 2023 PAVE Educator of the Year Award Judges (in alphabetical order):

  • Kate Kyung-ha Lee, Arcadis

  • Kyle Falbee, Tag Worldwide

  • Lauren Chipman, Chipman Design Architecture

  • Professor Nea Maloo, Howard University, 2022 PAVE Educator of the Year


About PAVE Global Founded in 1992 as The Planning and Visual Education Partnership, PAVE Global is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, with all proceeds benefitting PAVE’s educational programs. The organization enables young talent to build successful careers designing and creating consumer environments. Our vision is to cultivate relationships with students, educators, and the design industry through financial assistance, top-industry thinking, inspiration, and mentorship. For more information, please visit

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