Four Students Accepted into Versailles Program
By Brian Kleemann
Four College of DuPage architecture students have been accepted into the fall Versailles program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Will Prescott (Naperville), William Smarzewski (Villa Park), Joanna Ligas (Roselle) and Sandra Zenkeviciute (Darien) will spend the 2012-2013 school year at the Ecole d’Architecture de Versailles located just outside of Paris. Each year, approximately 48 juniors at the University of Illinois study historic and modern architecture while exploring the cities and cultures of Europe.
Jane Ostergaard, professor and coordinator of COD’s Architecture program, said students must be accepted to the university first before applying to the Versailles program. In the past, 11 COD students have been accepted in the program, and Mark Pearson, assistant professor, also took part in the program when he was a student at the University of Illinois.
“The program allows students to actually see what they’ve only studied in the classroom,” Ostargaard said. “Going to Versailles may cost more, but because students come to us first, they are saving money and perhaps have the resources to take advantage of the program.”
Prescott, Smarzewski, Ligas and Zenkeviciute all praise their COD professors for preparing them to transfer to a four-year program. Each is looking forward to the chance to immerse themselves in the European culture and architecture.
“I’ve always been interested in understanding the buildings around us and a sense of place,” said Prescott, who wants to open his own firm and design his own home. “This program will allow me to study architecture that needs to be seen in person.”
For Smarzewski, the Versailles program is a chance to participate in a one-on-one study abroad experience and see the history of such cities as Paris and Rome.
“I hope to take away a new appreciation of historic architecture, which will help me better understand our own architecture here,” he said.
Zenkeviciute, who was born and raised in Lithuania, moved to the U.S. when she was 14. She plans to start her own firm and dreams of designing a major building in downtown Chicago.
“This program will allow me to return overseas, where I hope to visit as many countries as possible,” she said. “It will be a one-of-a-kind experience that will broaden my appreciation of architecture.”
Ligas has already been to Paris through a study abroad experience and eagerly looks forward to returning.
“I love the French culture,” said Ligas, who wants to open her own firm and specialize in sustainable design. “The experience will be an extension of my studies at College of DuPage. My professors here have been so understanding and supportive and they really care.”
Caption: (From left) William Smarzewski, Joanna Ligas, Sandra Zenkeviciute and Will Prescott