Marcin Wieczorek, S/IDSA, calls it a "great resource in breaking into the design world." The rising senior at the University of Illinois-Chicago is the winner of the Design Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship 2017, granted by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). "This award means a lot to me as I continue my journey in industrial design," he says. "I am honored to be selected as the winner."
Originally from Poland—Wieczorek's family "decided to move away from our home country in search of a better life." But arriving in the United States at the age of nine wasn't easy. The language barrier made it difficult to communicate and form friendships. "While continuing to learn English, art became one of my best friends," Wieczorek remembers fondly. "Any spare time was often devoted to drawing animals, automobiles and joining competitions. With great help from mentors such as my junior high school teacher, Alex Polanco, and high school art director, Heidi Tincknell, I was able to learn multiple visual techniques ranging from drawing to painting."
Wieczorek graduated from Schaumburg High School's intensive, four-year arts program and joined UIC's BFA program. After a year, he found his calling. "While waiting in line at the academic advising office, I overheard a student talking about the ID program. After performing research on the unknown field, I realized that both art and design utilized a visual language for a given purpose."
Wieczorek enrolled at UIC’s school of Design. "By using previously learned visual art techniques such as painting, drawing and sculpting, my goal is to create various useful and innovative design concepts, sketches and prototypes," he describes. "With the implementation of creative thinking, I believe that we can find innovative solutions to existing problems."
He found invaluable networking at two IDSA Midwest District Design Conferences (DDCs): in 2016 at UI's Urbana-Champaign campus and in 2017 at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. "The DDCs were great learning opportunities and I'm looking forward to attending more," he says.
Now, Wieczorek is offering thanks all around. "While continuing my academic path in design, I would like to thank my family, relatives, teachers, mentors and IDSA for providing me with the help and opportunity to become a professional industrial designer."