The Thirteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2011
Berkeley Prize 2011

Milenka Jirasko Bio

"The pursuit of architecture has not been a straight path for me, but has become an increasingly certain one. I come from a small cabin in the mountains in Paradise, Montana, population 150. From a very young age I wanted to be a writer, and hoped to write childrens' novels. However, I also had a strong interest in drawing and building. I traveled once to Nicaragua to help build churches and homes; in Montana, I worked at a lumber yard and learned how to frame a barn. I chose architecture as a synthesis of art and construction and saw myself building homes for those who need shelter, and returning to South or Central America to work. I also imagined architecture would prove to be a far more financially stable career than writing, and that I could attend architecture school and take a stab at being a novelist in my free time. I have since not only learned architecture is rarely financially stable, but realized free time is nonexistent in architecture school. I have also, above all, fallen in love with architecture and found more than I ever hoped. In the past three years at Montana State University I have begun– only just begun– to understand that the architecture itself may not be our final goal at all. This school, these studies, and this major have taught me that we are not simply designers of buildings, but designers of the future and of change, in a small way, because people are influenced by the spaces they inhabit and pass through, and in this there is really no limit to what architecture may become. This summer I am incredibly excited to experience the influence of a place when I visit and work at Auschwitz, and try to learn from the way the site has been preserved to affect and influence those who pass through. "


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Ms. Milenka Jirasko, Montana State University, Bozeman United States
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