Student Speaker: Karen Cilento '12

College of Architecture and Design | Albert Dorman Honors College

Karen Cilento Raised in Staten Island, New York, Karen Cilento is a fourth-year architecture student in the Albert Dorman Honors College.  As valedictorian of her high school’s graduating class of 600 students, Karen was interested in finding a university that offered a diverse student body and challenging academics. NJIT proved to be the perfect match and has been continually providing a strong foundation for Karen’s future.

As an Honors College student, Karen’s first year studying architecture was spent in an honors studio surrounded by devoted and energetic classmates.  Together, the students learned from and motivated one another, pushing their projects to the next level of exploration. The studio was a great introduction to architecture and the power of collaboration.

Karen is also a member of the Honors Ambassador committee, which allows her to meet prospective students and let them know about the programs and offerings of the ADHC. During these interactions, Karen is able to share her insight and experiences as an honors student.

As part of the women’s Division I swim team, Karen broke NJIT's longest-standing record for the 50 free sprint and was named to the Metropolitan Swimming and Diving Conference All-Academic team for the 2008-2009 season.  Securing a place on the All-Academic team requires at least a 3.5 GPA and a top 16 place finish at the Metropolitan Swimming and Diving Championship.

NJIT has given Karen the opportunity to become a well-rounded student, allowing her to focus not only on architecture, but also on writing. She is the only American editor for the most widely read architecture website, ArchDaily.com.  Publishing seven articles a week, Karen enjoys critiquing contemporary architecture, reviewing publications and interviewing architects, as well as attending the prestigious Pritzker ceremony to share this experience with the website’s international followers.

Karen has received the NJIT Honors, Presidential, Faculty and Women in Science & Engineering scholarships.  Coming from a large family of four children, three of whom entered college in three consecutive years, these generous gifts allowed Karen to choose NJIT and pursue her academic interests here.  Karen is also extremely excited and grateful to the Honors College for sponsoring her semester studying abroad this upcoming spring in Aarhus, Denmark, to expand her experiences and prepare her to work in the global arena of architecture.

Upon graduation in 2012, Karen intends to give back to her community—a lesson Albert Dorman himself shared with her and her peers at an Honors colloquium—by using her skills as a designer to provide housing for the less fortunate.