Meet and support the 2017 Be Original design fellows

Irene Lee and Tom Groom, winners of the Be Original Americas 2017 student fellowship.

Be Original Americas has named two students to the 2017 summer fellowship program and also announced a funding campaign through Kickstarter to help support it.

The winners are Irene Lee of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Tom Groom of Illinois University at Chicago. Their fellowships begin June 12 and continue for seven weeks. In that time, they will visit various companies, including DWR and Herman Miller, to get firsthand looks at how design works in the commercial world, from concept to marketing.

The Kickstarter campaign aims to help support the expenses of the fellowship program, including the $3,500 grant each fellow will receive at the end of the program in August. The campaign, with a goal of raising $20,000 by June 1, offers rewards of three lapel pins and four T-shirts by top designers in exchange for donations.

Be Original Americas is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting authentic design, now and in the future. It launched the student fellowships in 2016, naming Sarah Ahart, who is graduating from Virginia Tech in May 2017, and Karina Campos, now a graduate of Syracuse University, the first winning fellows.

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Sarah Ahart and Kristina Campos, Be Original student fellowship winners for 2016. Photo by Alexander Kusak.