The Alex Foundation’s architecture design summer camp was held with guest speaker Amanda Sturgellmon July 17 at the McGehee Depot Museum. The event’s goal was to introduce rising seventh grade girls to architecture, design and the built environment.

Sturgell is a licensed architect with the Little Rock-based firm of Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, where over 50 percent of the firm’s entire professionals are women. A graduate of the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture, Sturgell is also a LEED accredited professional in building design construction, and is experienced in leading projects that are seeking sustainable certifications through both the LEED and Green Globes programs. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects and currently serves on the Arkansas Emerging Professionals Committee.

The summer camp was taught by educator and designer/artist Yolande Van Heerden. A native of South Africa, Van Heerden celebrates her homeland’s international cultural diversity through her community outreach work, and draws upon the country’s richness through her own designs. A current resident of Greenwood, Mississippi, Van Heerden has taught for over 30 years, of which six have been in the Mississippi Delta.

She has conducted workshops and summer programs at the Museum of the Mississippi Delta and ArtPlace Mississippi, and is a Mississippi Arts Commission artist. The summer camp is hosted by the Alex Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that engages youth in architecture, design and the built environment. For more information on the Alex Foundation or to donate, visit