Keene State architecture professor Bart Sapeta: 'I want to give back'
The national recognition was rewarding, he said, but he finds watching his students achieve even more rewarding.
"The most satisfying is actually working with students and seeing how well they are doing years afterward. How well they are supporting their community," Sapeta said.
Sapeta, 39, was born in Wroclaw, the second-largest city in Poland.?He has a bachelor of architecture from Drury University in Missouri and a masters of architecture and engineering from Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland.
Sapeta came to the U.S. as a college student studying abroad for a few semesters out of a desire to learn English. He decided to immigrate because of the opportunities for those willing to work hard.
"There are tremendous opportunities for people that want to work hard and always be involved with the community and give back. That is my mantra, I want to give back," Sapeta said.
Americans don't just sit back and wait to be handed something, he said. "That's what the spirit of the country is. . You desire something, you just work hard and you go and get it."
Sapeta volunteers in community design charrettes run by Plan NH and helps mentor students participating in CANstruction competitions that serve as fundraising events for the Keene Community Kitchen.
Giving back to the community has been a major factor in his work, he said.
It gives you the opportunity to practice your craft as well as learn about the environment you are designing for, he said. "I really believe that as children we learn through experience and then we go to school and what happens is you lose that experiential aspect of learning and doing."
Sapeta said the more he understands about the environment here in New Hampshire, the better teacher he is.
Sapeta said the architecture program at Keene State College is the best-kept secret in the state. At the college he is working on an accreditation program for collaborations with design professionals that help students build connections to the local building industry.