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Building success from childhood experience, work ethic, and art

Zaneta Marcinik, an ungraduated civil engineering major at UIC

Zaneta Marcinik, an undergraduate civil engineering major at UIC, has won a $2,500 scholarship from the Chicago chapter of the Construction Management Association of America.

The scholarship is awarded annually to financially assist multiple construction management students to continue their educational studies in the field of construction management.

Marcinik has been interested in construction since she was a child, when she visited construction sites with her father, a subcontractor in Poland. At the sites, she was able to see evolving projects and different structures being built. She also found inspiration in art.

“I was making art using origami 3D technique, which required a lot of planning, time, and creativity,” Marcinik said. “The final piece was constructed of thousands of single pieces put together in a precise way to create a whole.

“I connected my passion for construction with liking math and physics, and I chose to pursue civil engineering,” she added.

Marcinik also was influenced by faculty members at in the civil, materials, and engineering department, which houses her major.

“I was really inspired after taking classes with [Clinical Associate] Professor [Hossein] Ataei,” she said. “His introduction to construction management course really inspired me to look into construction management more.”

Ataei, who is also the department’s director of undergraduate studies, said Marcinik turned in an excellent performance in three core construction engineering and management courses. “She has been one of the best undergraduate students in our program,” he said. “Zaneta is a hard-working individual who demonstrates high levels of integrity and involvement.”

At UIC, Marcinik is an active member of the UIC chapter of the Construction Management Association of America, where she served as the chapter secretary and was recently elected president.

“I worked hard in the club to promote the construction profession among students by inviting companies to our school, co-organizing site visits, and encouraging students to attend monthly luncheons that the CMAA Chicago chapter offers,” she said.

Marcinik was preparing to compete in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ pre-construction competition, but it was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus. As a member of the team, she learned how to put together a pre-construction plan for the project, manage scheduling, and review a set of blueprints and construction documents.

Apart from her academic accomplishments, Marcinik is passionate about helping others.

“Whenever I can, I am giving back to people in need,” she said. “I was able to organize two charity events in the past, and I want to make sure I will become a financial supporter of future generations of students interested in construction management.”

In addition to the CMAA scholarship, Marcinik’s work ethic and passion have helped her earn other awards, including the CME Group Star Partnership Mayoral Award and the Saint John Paul the Great Scholarship from the Catholic League for Religious Assistance to Poland and Polonia, which she won twice.