Daniel Allen

Daniel Allen

Scholar since
2018

Education

Illinois Institute of Technology

Hometown
Chicago, IL

“I am constantly putting my curiosity to good use and making moves to become great at what I do. Being in Crown Hall, I am inspired every day, and the same boy who was so excited about his alien catcher now gets to be excited about exploring the built environment.”


I grew up in a Christian family and was home-schooled for the majority of my academic life. This dynamic had a big impact on my perspective of the world and impacts how I currently peruse academics. If I was confined to a one word description of my childhood self, I would say I was very curious, and excessively so. I broke open batteries to see how they worked and waded through swamps to catch salamanders. I kept a collection box full of junk I found around the city so that I could make “inventions,” like my famous alien catcher. I was fascinated with the natural world and loved studying ecological systems. I perused art and music and spent a lot of my free time studying science books from the library or reading through aquascaping forums.

In high school I began playing baseball with a local high school and also got very involved in the Boy Scouts of America. I went on to become the captain of that team and obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. I worked summers as a lifeguard for the Chicago Park District and made a lot of close friends through that. I began to attend Truman College during my last two years of high school to eliminate general education classes for when I went on to university.

While I didn’t consider architecture as a profession until my junior year of high school, I think I always had elements in me that finally yielded to that. My curiosity and love of natural systems as well as my ingenuity love of making all lead me to what I would consider to be the perfect field for me. If I had to choose two men I wanted to be like when I grew up, they were my Father and Leonardo da Vinci. For me, pursuing architecture fulfills that part of me.

Architects are driven, innovative, and help shape society, like my father, a pastor. They are also creative, jack-of-all-trades, and semi insane, like Leonardo da Vinci.

After recently completing my first year studio final, I am even more excited to be pursuing architecture. College is providing me with endless opportunities to develop and do what I love. Because I was home-schooled, I see education a little differently than my peers. I see it as a season in my life to take full advantage of.

I am constantly surrounded by intellectuals and learning opportunities, so I strive to soak it all in. To be quite honest, grades aren’t necessarily on my radar for the majority of the time, because I’m so focused on learning and exploring. One of my friends, a valedictorian, was describing to me his academic strategy, and explained that he will never do something for a class that doesn’t affect his grade. I realized then that I care more about learning than grades. I do the optional readings and go the extra mile on my models because I want to explore.

I am constantly putting my curiosity to good use and making moves to become great at what I do. Being in Crown Hall, I am inspired every day, and the same boy who was so excited about his alien catcher now gets to be excited about exploring the built environment.