Cushing Terrell Principal Shannon Christensen Elevated to American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows

Christensen joins the less than three percent of architecture professionals who achieve AIA Fellowship.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently announced it is elevating 98 AIA members to its prestigious College of Fellows, AIA’s highest membership honor for their exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society. Among the list of recipients is Cushing Terrell principal and architect Shannon Christensen.

The fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession and made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level. Architects who have been elevated to fellowship can be identified by the designation FAIA after their name.

Greg Matthews, Cushing Terrell president and CEO, had this to say: “Shannon is a natural leader and one of the most driven professionals I have had the pleasure of working with. She has put an exceptional amount of time, energy, effort, and undoubtedly her heart and soul, into the practice and the AIA — the Fellowship achievement will come as no surprise to anyone. I know I speak for all of Cushing Terrell when I say we are proud to celebrate Shannon and her passion for our practice as she accepts this exciting honor.”

Shannon Christensen, FAIA

Christensen and the other new fellows will be honored at the AIA Awards Gala, June 7, 2024, at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.

Learn more about fellowship on AIA’s website.

Some Career Highlights:

Christensen has made it a personal mission to support future and emerging architects by ensuring licensure, AIA engagement, and education opportunities are accessible, relevant, and equitable, recognizing each individual’s unique experience and continually examining and improving the profession’s essential structures. Additionally:

  • She has been an active leader in the Intern Development Program (IDP) and Architectural Experience Program (AXP) process since 2009 and in the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) since 2014. She also applied her understanding of NCARB policies in the role of licensing advisor at Cushing Terrell.
  • As AIA Northwest & Pacific Region (NWPR) Young Architect Regional Director (YARD), she represented young architects in seven states and U.S. territories; and helped young architects in Washington state establish the region’s third local Young Architects chapter.
  • At AIA Montana, she built connections to the Montana State University (MSU) AIAS chapter, selected recipients for the component’s annual scholarship program for three years, and worked with lawmakers to safeguard professional licensure in Montana.
  • She was the young architect representative on the 2019 AIA National Architecture Awards jury and she shared that experience with other potential jurors in an article posted on Cushing Terrell’s blog, which is often referenced by AIA Honors & Awards staff.
  • As AIA Montana Licensing Advisor (a role that informed her NCARB work) for 11 years, she helped increase IDP/AXP completion rates more than threefold, bringing them in line with national averages.
  • She has supported: the MSU School of Architecture Graduate Council; statewide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fairs through MSU Billings and the Girl Scouts; and the Education Foundation for Billings Public Schools (EFBPS), for which she is the current president.
Bob Fehlberg, FAIA


In 1973, Bob Fehlberg, former principal and design director who worked for Cushing Terrell (then called CTA) from 1958 through 1987, was the firm’s first architect elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 1973.

As of today, Shannon Christensen represents the 14th AIA Fellow from Montana; the first was elevated in 1886, the most recent in 2021.