2010 scholarship voting: part 1 (undergrads)

by Grace Bonney

The time has finally come to vote for the 2010 Design*Sponge Scholarship finalists! Today we’ll be voting twice, once for undergraduate finalists and once for graduate student finalists*. Today we’re starting with 10 undergraduates first- in total, they are 20 of the most talented students I’ve seen in a while! These top 20 10 undergraduates were chosen out of a group of 600 applicants, all of whom showed great potential. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to enter- the next generation of designers definitely looks bright and talented and I can’t wait to see what they do next. Voting begins after the jump! xo, grace

*I want to give the undergraduate voting a little time to breathe so the graduate student finalists and voting will start around 4pm this afternoon. Both polls will be open through Wednesday of next week

Please note all students’ names are linked to their portfolios so you can see more of their work and find more information on the work shown below

UPDATE: Voting will end next Wednesday, December 22nd at 10pm EST

A big thank you to our sponsors this year: Glos and Room & Board. Glos has kindly provided our first place prizes for both undergraduate and graduate students, Room & Board has kindly provided our second place prizes for both undergraduate and graduate students and The Monacelli Press has generously offered to sponsor our Honorable Mention prizes for the 2010 Scholarship.


Images above: Work by Ange-line Tetrault

Images above: Work by Christopher Stuart

Images above: Work by Jessica Wei

Images above: Work by Hyeonil Jeong

Images above: Work by Elizabeth Clark

Images above: Work by Luke Shuman

Images above: Work by Carlos De León

Images above: Work by Beth Ann Cott

Images above: Work by Misha Kahn

Images above: Work by Anders Wallner


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  • wow! these are all great. It’s really hard to pick a favorite – i love so many of them. That nest chair is adorable, i love the ceramics of ange-line, and beth cott’s wood work is gorgeous. everyone did a great job!

  • It was extremely hard to vote for only one. They are all amazingly talented young people and I wish everyone of them much health and success !!!

  • A little disappointed that there isn’t more variation of artists (Illustrators, fine artists,photographers, etc.). Looks pretty biased – only interior design and graphic designers here, really. Wish there was more variation. Other artists need scholarships, too.

    Don’t get me wrong – Great work, very talented people. Beautiful ideas, colors, and concepts.

    • Meg

      Please see the scholarship page to see what categories were welcome- students in all of those categories entered, but they were not necessarily the strongest. These candidates represent the finest of the lot- unfortunately those categories you mentioned were not as strong as others.

      That said, there is a wide range represented here you’re overlooking. Among these 10 we have: graphic design, product design, ceramics, furniture design and dual illustration/graphic design majors. Those topics are strongly in line with what we cover here at D*S so I’m happy with the range shown here.


  • Wow…choosing one was so difficult! No doubt everyone listed here will be successful. Great work!!!

    I want Ange-line’s ceramics and Elizabeth’s lamp in my house.

  • Oh these are all so lovely! I had a tough time deciding, but in the end really feel like Misha’s work made me see how things could be in the world a bit differently. Loved it.

  • I find it very inspiring to see this level of work coming from such young people at the beginning of their careers. I definitely expect to see more great things from this group in the future. Wow!

  • All the artists are amazing, but one really stands out – Elizabeth has some of the most original and unique designs of all! I want the camera, I want the lamp!

  • oh dear sweet Jessica Wei! i love your stuff but i cringed when i noticed you used an invasive, aggresive plant in your photos for your ‘slow foods’ starter kits!!!! I know you SCAD kids put so much thought into all your products! don’t forget the small details like picking a plant that is as equally ‘green’ as your product! it affected my vote :(

  • wow, both sets are pretty awesome, but i must say i’m pretty blown away by this undergrad group!! i wish i could vote for my top 3 picks! so hard to pick just one :)

  • I think the work is nice.. but it is clear that you were not very broad with the selection. Seems like almost the same person 10 times in a row. Where are the architecture students? Fine artists? Photographers? I can tell you they work just as hard if not harder than industrial design students yet thats all I see here. Pretty disappointed.

    • anon-e-mouse & everyone else-

      the work you’re seeing here reflects the best of the applications we received. if we had received dozens and dozens of applications from fine artists and photographers you would probably have seen a greater concentration in the finalists, but i’m afraid that wasn’t the case. the vast majority we received were in the fields of graphic design, product design and furniture- fields we tend to focus on here at d*s. i reached out to over 200 design schools to promote the contest in hopes that we would see greater concentrations of students in a wide variety areas but in the end that wasn’t the result. if you’re disappointed hopefully next year you can share the contest application with talented student designers in those areas that you’ve mentioned. but as it stands these students represent the most talented and qualified applicants in the group. i’d hate to see their talent overlooked because they happen to be in similar fields.

      we have graphic design/packaging, illustration/fine art, product design, furniture design, ceramics, and fibers represented here- that’s a fine range of talent being displayed and i hope we can all appreciate the skill this group represents. i look forward to (hopefully) seeing a broader range of applicants, but until that happens i am happy to choose from, and celebrate, the best talents placed in front of me.


  • lots of great work here, but are these students showcasing school work or professional work? i’ve seen a couple of these items online for sale, which seems like a disadvantage to those only showing student projects.

    • ryan

      the work here is primarily school work. some students may be selling their work on etsy, but it doesn’t prevent it from still being student work. as long as the work was created while they are in school, i don’t see it as being an advantage or disadvantage. (if the company selling someone’s work was promoting their involvement in the contest then yes, that would seem unfair)


  • Great work but I wish we could see what schools these students are studying/creating at. I’d be interested to see if most of them are at top-notch art schools like SVA and Pratt or if there are art majors at non-art schools producing award winning/head turning work. Just a thought for next year

    • amy

      you can find more information on each candidate by clicking on their site. i used to include that information, but in previous years people complained that that would make people “biased” towards certain schools, or voting for “bigger name” schools. so this year i’m testing out not listing them to see if that makes people feel less “biased” towards particular schools. that said, if you’d like to see what school they attend just click on their links and check out their profiles, portfolios or “about” pages.


  • I wasn’t going to say anything… mostly because I entered in for the scholarship myself. I knew there would be a lot of competition and that mostly I was just entering to enter, and I was happy with the writing exercise I got from the experience.
    I looked this morning at the finalists to see who had won and was excited to see some really great work by deserving artists. But when I looked at all the finalists I was greatly disappointed. I’m not inspired by any of the finalists above. Not to say they aren’t hardworking or that they don’t deserve this opportunity, because I think everyone who entered did… but because I expected to be inspired by the work that ‘beat’ me if you will. And I was sad not to be.
    I had hopes that you would perhaps focus your scholarship on folks who who needed help getting to the places that these finalists are clearly already at. I’m just sad to feel like these students ‘beat’ out some folks who probably have just as much talent for innovation, if not more, but need more help getting ‘there’. I hope for better next year.

  • Additionally, I think it might be nice for voters to have the chance to read a little bit of what the students had to say about their work and their future plans… after all that’s what the money it going to, right?

    • jesse

      to your second comment, there are links to each student’s website available if you would like to read more about them.

      to your first comment, i feel strongly that scholarships should be judged on talent. to assume that those with work that is more “advanced” somehow need scholarship funds less is untrue. all students could use help and support getting started.


  • I have known Ange-line since she was a child and have always been proud of her accomplishments.

  • Grace…

    My second comment was in regards to their essay answers. I did look at the artist’s websites and and was left not knowing enough about them. Which is why I made the suggestion. It was just a suggestion from the voter point of view.

    In response to your comment about talent. Yes all students need help regardless of how ‘advanced’ they are, as you put it. But if the scholarship was based solely on talent, I think it might have been a bit misleading to ask each contestant to write a maxiumum of well over 4.000 words on their inspiration, experience, plans and dreams for the future, etc. Though I maintain that it was a great exercise! :)

    I feel like you might have been a little offended or vexed by my comments. I’m sorry. I just have come to expect a lot from this blog over the years, because it has always been a source of inspiration. It just made my sad that something I was expecting to be really, extra inspired by as part of this blog, didn’t end up that way for me. That’s all.

    I think it’s awesome that you’ve put together this opportunity for students and clearly it is a lot of hard work. I wish good luck to all the finalists and to all the voters who have to choose.


    • Jesse

      Scholarship applicants were asked to fill out six short questions, each with a 750 word maximum*. Those answers were intended to help aid in the editing process and they were definitely a factor in choosing the finalists. I’m not sure why you feel that a written application is somehow misleading- it’s a valuable tool in evaluating applicants and it is a very standard part of most scholarship applications. If you feel those private applications should be made public I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      *Most applicants wrote 1-2 short paragraphs for each answer. No one was required to write 4,000 words.


      Your comment makes it sound as if people were required to write 4,000 words- and that those words were somehow overlooked because they weren’t published here. Most scholarships do not publish an applicant’s answers.

  • I was very intrigued by the work done by BethAnn. The coat rack acts as a decorative wall mount and a functional coat rack, great idea. The chair is well made and has a very unique look. Her knitting box is quite innovative. It not only acts as storeage but also as a side table while knitting by the varriable height adjustment capability. BethAnn’s work has some great thinking involved.

  • I think Bettie Cott’s work is fresh and executed with great thought and control.

    Those of you that are crying about the chosen finalists should stop wallowing in self pity and just be thankful that a blog like design sponge is even offering up $10,000 to all the starving artist students out there.

    Better luck next time.

    Congratulations finalists.

  • Awesome finalists, but gotta love CARLOS DE LEON´s works!

    I went to his Behance, and that kid´s got it! I mean, so much VARIETY in his stuff! Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography… Im so amused by the Gallo wine and Light play projects on his Behance. He´s got my vote!

    Good luck everyone!

    PS: Is he actually in Dominican Republic or is he living in the States?

  • I stumbled across this blog today. I love it!
    I like the graphic designs by carlos de leon and anders. Id have to say i really like anders, but thats because I’m in love with the design trend he is following, luke and jessica go along those lines too. Very clean nice graphic design. But Carlos de leon’s work is pretty original. It does mirror other design trends, but it doesnt follow the crowd, I like that.

    On another note. I was reading the comments. I couldn’t help but noticing the miscommunications:

    Jesse: I think the work is very inspiring, it is great that undergrads can do this much. I was amazed by the furniture.

    You did not have to make such a subjective statement on great work to bring your point across.

    However, I agree with the point you are attempting to make. Although everyone can use some extra help, obviously if some of the finalists can materialize their work this well, they already have some sort of financial possibilities and even the space.

    Now, the fact that these artists might need the money less than others does not mean that their work is not inspiring. You can lightly suggest to Design Sponge to consider the financial needs in combination with the design talent (many scholarship programs to this too) but in the end, the method of selecting a winner is up to design sponge. We should respect that.

    Grace: I think you misread Jesse, or maybe I did. I don’t see where she complains about the essays being misleading, She agrees its a valuable tool in evaluating applicants which is why she is so interested in reading those. I would be too. It shows the mind behind the work, and might aid the work of a participant that have less financial resources to represent their ideas physically, if we could have a peek of how their mind is working. But I do understand many contest choose to keep that information private and that should be respected as well. well with that said im finally done.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    • Roxanne

      Thank you for your contribution to the discussion. I wanted to touch on two quick points.

      The reason I take issue with Jesse’s comment is because I disagree strongly with an idea that I think you both share: “obviously if some of the finalists can materialize their work this well, they already have some sort of financial possibilities and even the space”

      Talent does not equal financial possibilities and space. I want that to be very clear- because it really bothers me that people would assume that people who are talented somehow have a leg up. I went to school with amazing artists who had a hard time paying tuition and the most basic art supply costs and it is precisely that memory that inspired me to create this scholarship.

      RE: the scholarship essays, I was responding to this comment from Jesse:
      “But if the scholarship was based solely on talent, I think it might have been a bit misleading to ask each contestant to write a maxiumum of well over 4.000 words on their inspiration, experience, plans and dreams for the future, etc”

      I appreciate everyone’s input and opinions- I’ve used those opinions to shape the scholarship over the past four years. That said, this will always remain a talent-based competition. This scholarship was designed to support and celebrate the next generation of talented designers and I want to celebrate those with most innovative ideas and/or the skills that suggest great things to come.


  • Lots of talent! not sure who to vote for. I guess I will have to go for the artist I related to the best!

    BTW: very hottt table Misha!

  • All of these students are amazing. It’s hard to choose, but Beth Ann Cott’s work is the standout for me. So talented!!! Congratulations to all 10!!!!

  • Of course not. Talent does not equal financial possibilities at all. Would never argue with that. Sorry if what I wrote came across that way.

    What I agreed with is that by seeing the artist’s statement on the work, we could judge the brains over the resources. because talent is a mix of how you use both, but thinking it over, you guys are doing just fine, a language barrier could make that suggestion unfair.
    Nvm, You’re doing a great thing.
    Best of luck with everything.


  • Not that it matters, but 6*750=4500, which is, incidentally, “well over” 4000. I’d hate to see what seems like an important discussion lost in bickering over numbers :)

    With that said, it would seem that Jesse is somehow advocating awarding less skilled designers (over those whose work is, shall we say, better executed) on account of their greater need for developing the existing raw talent. But since execution is in my opinion one of the key aspects of great design, that idea doesn’t make much sense.

    P.S. My vote goes to Carlos de Leon; I couldn’t overlook that much quirk and curiosity :)

    • hana

      yes, if they wrote the maximum amount of characters they would have written over 4,000 words. i can guarantee you most people wrote no where near that many. most people wrote a short paragraph for each entry. that said, i think 6 paragraphs and a link to your work online is a small task to accomplish for the chance to win $2500.


  • i think it’s fantastic that design sponge is supporting up and coming designers. however this stage of the contest seams more like a popularity contest then anything.

    “hey facebook friends vote for me”

    • bobby

      i don’t think a voting process is the same thing as a popularity contest. it’s a contest, but it’s based solely on work and talent. i haven’t actually seen a lot of social network lobbying going on.


  • Grace,
    Nobody is saying that money = talent.

    However, more money can mean cooler looking products.
    (I am speaking specifically about furniture design.) Do you know how many hundreds of dollars it can cost to realize these designs in anything other than sketches and computer renderings?
    The material costs are very high, let alone the cost to hire someone else to construct them.
    While shared studio space is usually available, most design schools that I know of do not supply materials.
    –mine sure didn’t– we made many a costly trip to the Home Depot.

    I mainly want to encourage you to not get overly defensive when commenters say something negative.
    You are doing a great job with this contest!
    There will always be people who don’t like one aspect or another
    — you can’t please everyone!
    So keep up the great work.

    Also did you see the sex table on Misha Kahn’s portfolio? Good for a laugh and a WTF.

    • Jac7890

      This scholarship means more to me than I think most people realize and I take people’s comments about it seriously, especially when they make statements that suggest that more “advanced” student designers probably already have access to more money or space. I think it’s unfair to assume that about students and I think it’s important to remind those reading the comment section that statements like that aren’t necessarily true. I’ve found from previous scholarships that these comments do have an effect on voting and I want to make sure that both sides of the story are represented here. It’s so tough to make it as a student designer and I want to make sure all of these students have a chance and aren’t somehow penalized for looking as if they’re more advanced, which may seem to some people like they already have the money they need.

      I appreciate your comment and certainly know I can’t please everyone- sometimes comment sections can feel like a constant reminder of that. ;) But I do try to do my best to make sure that both sides of the story are always represented. When you put so much time and effort into something, like this scholarship, it’s hard not to want to explain the methods and/or reasoning behind something that feels slightly misunderstood.

      And yes, I saw that table ;)


  • 100% like a popularity contest and i don’t think if one of the contestants friends that comes here to vote for them sees someone more talented is gona change their mind about who they are going to vote for. end of the day the person that wins this contest was able to convince the largest amount of people to come here and vote for them and thats the talent they have.

    • Bobby

      What you’re describing a contest, which this is. But you’re overlooking the fact that over 65,000 people are going to view this post per day and I’m pretty sure the majority of those people are not these contestants’ close friends. So yes, their friends will naturally be biased towards voting for them, but the majority of readers won’t be. It’s pretty unfair to discount all of the talent here and assume that a few groups of friends will somehow throw an entire contest. If this was high school I might believe you, but this contest is being viewed by a far larger amount of people who’ve never met or spoken with the people shown here.


  • this bobbi disagrees with the other bobby, as i don’t know ANY of the contestants in any of the contests you ever have, but i vote for the ones who strike me as having the most talent! we appreciate you, Grace.

  • It was so much fun to look through the student’s work. Thanks for organizing this scholarship, Grace! When I was in art school it was always a challenge to fund projects, so this is fantastic. Good luck to all & keep it up guys!

  • Good god! This comment thread is a bit disheartening. I am a Graphic Designer and at university I spent my (hard earned) money on almost nothing but rent and “fancy art supplies” instead of beer and travel so that I could have excellent folios. I also know furniture students who did free work at local studios in exchange for use of workshops and scrap material. D*s has done a fabulous selection job and I cannot see how people can be so upset. I hope the volume of negative comments does not deter Grace or others from running contests designed to promote new talent and support emerging artists. Feedback is of course always helpful but most of these comments seem like whinging to me. Good work D*s, hope these comments slow for you soon :P

  • i am so impressed by the quality of the submissions; in particular the design of bettie cott’s furniture! i can’t believe these are student submissions… so so good!

  • amen tracey! totally agreed!

    also, just want to say, choosing just one person to vote for was nearly impossible. awesome/inspiring/beautiful work.

  • you’re right Tracey, it is a bit disheartening. i didn’t know about d*s until now, but i’m always fully appreciative of any efforts to support student designers. i don’t think Grace should feel the need to defend anyone and anything… and comments towards the selection process probably should be sent to her privately to keep this comment thread more about the artists.

    that being said, Ange-line has really outstanding work, but my vote goes for Misha! his playful pieces have a childlike innocence to them. it’s a good reminder for me that art isn’t all about being serious and following “design” rules. they’re fun and tickle me in the silliest way.

  • So hard to pick just one, among both groups of students! This is truly a wonderful initiative, Grace, and I wish all of the applicants — not just the finalists — the best of success.

  • Great job, carlos de leon
    he is the only latino en este concurso, sabemos que tienes mucho talento suerte…

  • Fantastic creativity — all students show amazing talent and what an opportunity. I especially enjoyed Beth Anne’s practical use of her designs.

  • To Viviana and all,
    Carlos is not the only latino, I know Elizabeth and her mother is from Mexico. Y ella tambien habla perfecto Español. Suerte a todos!
    Everyone has done such a great job it is amazing these are only undergrad students!!

  • I’m trying to vote for Carlos de Leone but cannot figure out the way to do it on this website. It says click and vote after the “jump” ???? I click and I’m back where I started. Help please

    • ed

      scan all the way to the bottom of the post and you’ll see the poll ;) it will be after all the students’ work. if you still can’t vote shoot me an email at designsponge at gmail dot com.


  • Excellent job, Grace! It was hard to pick just one. Maybe
    someday you will have enough funds to have a scholarship for each
    category (id, graphic, illustration), so we won’t have such a hard
    time choosing between them all. Because, you know, it is all about
    US, lol. I love that you do this for these students.

  • grace,
    i love design*sponge and i love the scholarship you are offering. I only hope that one day i am in a financial position where i could offer such a gift to someone.
    happy days :)

  • This was a difficult. So much great talent.

    I find myself separating industrial and product design from graphic and package design.

    (ASIDE: Grace- I’m certain you may have already thought of this, but I am going to share it any way: Perhaps offer one award for visual and another for product/industrial?

    Just an idea. Though, as I wrote, I’m sure you have already thought of this.)

    That said, my runners up were:
    Jessica Wei
    Luke Sherman
    Carlos De Leon
    Hyeonil Jeong
    Anders Wallner

    Such good work here – and the portfolios were a pleasure to peruse. Really, I wish I had a product or a need that required the hiring every one of these talents.

    Thanks for giving us the chance to choose. You could have kept the decision in-house. I appreciate being given the chance to vote.

    Thanks, Grace.

  • Grace, I am just wondering when the results will be posted.
    Thanks for all of your hard work!
    Happy Holidays!

  • After reading through these posts and looking at all the work I have mixed feelings. I was indeed impressed with the projects shown by the students and glad to see the thriving Design Sponge community rally around aspiring designers. It’s so important as a student to feel recognized and have opportunities to show work beyond the classroom. As a former recipient of this scholarship, I really want to thank Grace and the rest of the DS team for continuing to support design education

    I do however feel the need to chime in regarding this debate money/resources vs. talent. In my experience and not just at the college I attended, the design school environment is extremely competitive, people are willing to do what ever it takes to churn out the best possible work, including going into VERY large sums of debt in order to see a project is done correctly(not to mention on time) AND stay up sometimes up to 36 hours straight until completion. Money is not the magic ingredient that creates a great design, it is the idea behind it along, with determination, craftsmanship, execution, intent and talent. I think in the end it is never completely a black and white question money vs. talent but a confluence of the aforementioned factors that result in successful projects. I had classmates that outsourced their models to China or had them completely fabricated by professional manufacturers but these were not necessarily the best projects in the class. They were definitely well made and beautifully painted but the but good craftsmanship and a nice paint job can’t save an average design. It’s my opinion that very good work is a result of something more than just money and talent.

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