Illustration major Stephanie Weinger has received the Marian Locks Senior Award.

"In the midst of everything that is happening in the world, and the disappointment I felt at the loss of the end of senior year, it was very uplifting to win this award," she said. The Marian Locks award provides a graduating senior in any discipline at Moore College of Art & Design with the opportunity to jumpstart her career in art and design.

Weinger learned of her selection through a phone call from Moore President Cecelia Fitzgibbon. She answered some questions for us about her thoughts on senior year and her future.

What are your plans for the money you’ve won?

Originally, I was going to use some of it to attend the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators annual conference in Salt Lake City, but that got moved to 2021. So I will probably end up putting some of the money away for that for next year. I also planned on using some of it to take a class with the University of Nebraska: Lincoln on natural science illustration. It is an online class, so it is still going to run normally. I also plan to put some of the money into my freelancing business.

Were you artistic from a young age? Were you drawing all the time as a child?

When I was very young I can remember coloring a lot all the time with my mom. I remember my favorite coloring book that had all animals inside of it. My childhood artistic path really developed in high school, where I planned my schedule to get as many art classes possible. My mother encouraged me to take classes outside of high school as well.

Anyone else in your family artistic?

There are a few art hobbyists in my family. My grandfather did oil paintings and a few people on my dad’s side painted as well, more fine arts than illustration. My mom is also very artistic and crafty. She is really good at designing and transforming physical spaces for themed parties and events, and she also decorates cakes and builds props.

How did you come to choose Moore for college?

I was at a portfolio review event and was on line to get reviewed for the Maryland Institute College of Art and Moore was the next table over with no line. While my mom waited on the MICA line for me, I went over to the Moore table. I wasn’t too hyped about the school at first, but after I visited the campus for the first time I fell in love with Moore and Philadelphia. Moore was also the most generous with scholarships and offered great leadership and networking opportunities for me. I also really liked the Illustration faculty.

What are your thoughts on this bizarre semester?

I dreamed of the senior show for so long and was really excited to network and see my classmates pieces on the wall. I am also sad that I can't stand proud in my cap and gown. However, a lot of good also ended up coming out of this semester that I hadn’t foreseen. I was inspired to add to my thesis, and create a coloring book that has been selling pretty well. My classmates and I connected on a deeper level, and we have spent a lot more time talking and virtually having fun together. Also, the professors' support and love was overwhelming and I am really grateful for all that they and the staff did to make sure we graduating seniors didn’t crawl into a dark hole to sulk.

What are your plans after graduating?

Apply, apply, apply! I’ve been applying to design jobs all throughout the U.S. I do currently have a job that can comfortably support my living expenses. So while many companies are in a hiring freeze, it's my plan to work on my freelance portfolio and contact list. I’ve also offered my design services for free to a few wildlife organizations that are financially hurting. With this, I hope to build my portfolio and client list while also helping out organization that I love and support. It’s a weird time to be thrown into “the real world,” with businesses on hiring freezes and a lot more people looking for jobs. I’m just going to take it easy and continue to create art and develop my professional skills.