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SOURCE Awards Winner: Sarah Kirk

December 21, 2018

SOURCE Awards Winner: Sarah Kirk


Since winning the SOURCE Student Award of Recognition in 2004 for her ‘sudsy’ Bar and Laundry design, Sarah Kirk’s roles have ranged from interior architect to product developer and visual merchandiser.

In her current position, Kirk works at Schoolhouse Electric and Supply Co. in Portland, Oregon as a product manager, where she is involved with everything from web merchandising to photoshoot productions for seasonal product launches.

After graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design in 2004, Kirk earned a master’s in interior architecture from Rhode Island School of Design. Following graduation, she worked for a variety of small interior architecture and universal design firms in Rhode Island and Massachusetts as well as a product design and merchandise wholesaler in Illinois.

Having spent the past few years working in merchandising and marketing, Kirk hasn’t specified LED lighting for commercial or residential interior projects. However, she notes that Schoolhouse Electric is increasingly attentive to the lighting alternative.

“We have our eye on LED technology and are interested in exploring this area further,” she said.

In fact, Kirk was intrigued when the company started selling an LED light bulb with advanced technology.

“It involved a new silicone gel cooling technology,” she said. “I was fascinated with it and did research about it before it was launched on our website.”

Kirk has always had a strong interest in lighting and said that winning the SOURCE Award as a student had a lasting impact on her.

“It was an honor, and attending the award ceremony was a good memory I have from during grad school,” Kirk said.

The SOURCE Awards competition, established in 1977, is open to all lighting designers, architects, engineers, professional designers and consultants who use Eaton’s lighting fixtures in an interior or exterior design project. Students currently enrolled in any of these disciplines can also enter projects based on conceptual lighting designs utilizing Eaton’s lighting fixtures.

The competition requires the primary and predominant use of any or all of Cooper Lighting's product lines. It also seeks a creative use of fixtures providing energy-efficient design solutions in addition to standard projects. Projects are judged on the blending of aesthetics, creative achievement and technical performance and the degree to which the lighting met project constraints and design concept goals.

The SOURCE Awards competition, established in 1977, focuses on furthering the understanding, knowledge and function of lighting as a primary element in design. Designed to recognize and honor the bright future of the lighting design industry, the awards are part of Cooper Lighting's commitment to building the pipeline of lighting design talent. 

Created to further the understanding, knowledge and function of lighting as a primary element in design, the SOURCE Awards competition has granted more than $600,000 to winners as well as industry-wide recognition for their efforts.

The SOURCE Awards are open to students who use Cooper Lighting's lighting fixtures and controls products in a conceptual interior or exterior lighting design. University students studying architecture, design, engineering or related disciplines are invited to enter.

For more information about how to enter, please visit our SOURCE Lighting Education Center.