When Aaron Plewke, MArch ’11, was applying to graduate programs in architecture, he wanted to be seen not just for his abilities as an architect, but also as a leader full of integrity, who was committed to community service.
He chose to attend the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, thanks in large part to the Danforth Scholarship that recognized his holistic application.
“I like that the admissions committee had noticed these things about me,” Plewke says. “It made me feel welcome, and the financial assistance made it possible for me to attend.”
In his final year at the university, Plewke and his fellow graduate student and now-wife, Meredith Klein, MArch ’11, worked to design and manage the construction of WUSTL’s new Asian Study Center in Shanghai. Almost all of their work was done from their studios in Givens Hall. They monitored progress through photos, Skype and 2 a.m. chats on Google with the people on the ground.
The couple also worked for the university the previous year, renovating Givens 105, which is the Sam Fox School’s administrative suite.
Not only did the university offer Plewke the opportunity to use his architecture skills in real-world situations, but his Danforth Scholarship also gave him a network with which he could exchange ideas. Plewke enjoyed his time spent with other Danforth Scholars at the chancellor’s house, formal events and informal get-togethers.
“We really began to have these interdisciplinary discussions,” Plewke says. “That began to open my eyes to the real benefit of a graduate program like this, where you can bring a dozen people together and find these overlaps. I think many of us feel that in the world today you need people with the ability to think across disciplinary lines.”