Leslie Ponce-Díaz

Harvard GSD MArch II

 Projects       About


 I am a first-generation and Mexican-American graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a Bachelors of Architecture (BArch, Accredited) and double-minors in Nature Sustainability and Latin American Cultural Studies. During my studies at RISD, my final architecture thesis titled, Rasquachismo, was awarded the 2023 RISD Architecture Thesis Prize.
I am currently pursuing a Masters in Architecture II (Post-Professional) at Harvard University Graduate School of Design as a Dean's Merit Scholar. I have previously worked with Sweet Water Foundation, Studio Gang and currently serving as a FORAship Fellow with Architects FORA.
I enjoy mentoring first-generation youth by utilizing my passions in architecture, community and public service within my community organization, First-Gen Chisme.

Beyond work, I enjoy making Mexican beaded jewelry and playing soccer with my family! 

Contact me at leslieponcediaz@gsd.harvard.edu, resume and portfolio available upon request.

︎ ︎

“Leslie’s investment in first-generation college communities has been absolute and firm since her arrival to RISD campus. Whether quickly doing work in her own way, leading online forums or making public presentations and workshops, she has left a lasting legacy to RISD. Not because she has ever been compelled to, but rather because she is deeply and earnestly caring about the multiple communities she serves.”

- Tony Johnson, Associate Dean,
Social Equity & Inclusion at RISD

First-Generation Legacy Building Award Recipient / 2023

“As a first-generation Mexican American college student, 2017 and 2019 Live Más Scholar Leslie Ponce-Díaz is pursuing her passion for art and design, while building community, embracing her culture, and encouraging other students to do the same. Leslie is no stranger to taking leaps and embarked on a journey from her home state of Kansas to Rhode Island where she studies architecture, coupled with sustainability and art history at Rhode Island School of Design. In the architectural world of grey, Leslie does not shy away from color, illuminating any room she walks into.”

- Live Más Taco Bell Foundation

Scholar Stories / 2021

“Leslie works daily to inject her creative energies and unwavering idealism into projects both on and off campus that address issues of equity, inclusion, community-building and social impact. A first-generation college student studying Architecture with a double concentration in Nature Culture Sustainability Studies and History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences at RISD, since stepping on to campus she has actively sought out involvement in local and global community engagement opportunities, understanding it as a vital way to strengthen and expand her academically grounded practice.”

- Former RISD President Rosanne Somerson

In nomination for Newman Civic Fellowship
/ 2021