IIDA’s Texas/Oklahoma Chapter celebrated 20 years of their signature student conference, IIDA SHIFT, in January 2020. The conference brings together students, educators, and industry professionals from across the country for inspiration, education, networking, and to celebrate their future roles as design leaders. The best part of the conference? It’s designed specifically for students, from the programming and events to the Industry Expo and networking focus.
Thanks to the donations to the IIDA Foundation’s Designing for the Future Campaign, five IIDA Student members receive a scholarship to attend the conference. They have the opportunity to participate in portfolio reviews, workshops, panels, mock interviews, the Industry Expo, and design tours across Dallas. Students attending SHIFT gain valuable practice networking, building industry connections, and learning about the different shapes and paths their careers can take.
Congratulations to our Texas/Oklahoma Chapter on 20 years of impactful programming and their work towards shaping the future of design! We’re so happy to support and engage with SHIFT and are thrilled to share feedback and insights this year from the student attendees themselves.
Building a national network of future colleagues
Attending the SHIFT 2020 Conference was an incredible experience that left me feeling motivated and inspired. Coming from Philadelphia to Dallas was exciting, and I enjoyed meeting interior design students from parts of the country I do not often come in contact with. I always love opportunities to expand my network, and it was great meeting students and industry professionals from outside of my region. One of the things I found to be most beneficial were the breakout sessions. I learned about a wide variety of topics, including the NCIDQ, what a day in the life of a design professionals looks like, and how to design with empathy. Overall, it was an amazing few days I will not forget, and I hope to return in 2021!
— Lindsay Bedford, Student IIDA, Drexel University
Gaining confidence during the shift from student to industry professional
Attending the SHIFT Conference was the most motivating and inspiring experience I could have had as a recent college graduate. This past fall, I graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a degree in interior design. I was fortunate enough to have been offered a full-time interior designer position at HGA Architects and Engineers upon graduation. This conference was what I needed to begin my new role as an interior designer and transition from being a student to a professional in the industry.
As a first-time attendee, and coming from California, I was excited, nervous, anxious, and ready to learn and network. I enjoyed the tours of the firms and showrooms, as well as the design workshops, business etiquette, and the many other classes I was able to attend. One of my favorite experiences was learning more about ergonomics at the Humanscale showroom. I found myself explaining the correct ergonomic position you should sit in while working at your desk for the rest of the conference and to my family and coworkers when I returned home. As someone who gets nervous while presenting, the mock interview and portfolio review were very beneficial, allowing me to practice speaking to professionals about my projects and experience in a conversational way while receiving valuable feedback.
Networking took place throughout the entire conference, and that’s what I valued the most from this experience. I find networking to be one of the most important tools in the design industry and a skill that takes practice. Having the opportunity to network with inspiring and accomplished design leaders made me so excited to begin my career in such a remarkable industry.
— Mindy Morettini, Student IIDA, California State University, Sacramento
Refining skills while immersed in a positive, impactful environment
My time at SHIFT turned out to be an incredibly impactful and engaging learning experience. It challenged me, motivated me, prepared me, and I was surrounded by inspiring, like-minded people. The board members were helpful and organized to the highest degree. I will cherish the experience because it was meant to make me better. Thanks to IIDA, I am inspired to share the genuine intent to advocate for one another in our industry. The workshops were probably my favorite part of the conference. Like the workshops, the mock interviews served to refine our skills in the most positive of ways. I appreciate that.
I do believe that I am on the right track as I complete my BFA in interior design. I am set to graduate with the skill sets in my armory to be an adept interior designer. I feel blessed for this opportunity. Thank you, IIDA.
— Casey Kelly, STLCC, Student IIDA, St. Louis Community College
Leaning into interiors
When I started college I was exclusively studying interior architecture. In my sophomore year, I added architecture, and now I’m in my fourth year in the Architecture and Interior Architecture program at Lawrence Technological University (LTU). Going to the SHIFT conference helped me see more possibilities in the interiors field, and helped me discover the difference between architecture and interiors.
At the conference, I was able to attend the student roundtable, tours, workshops, industry expo, and the sessions. As the current President of the LTU Campus Center, I found the student roundtable very beneficial and enjoyed hearing about the kinds of events other schools were hosting. I’m excited to take some of the ideas back to my chapter. I also really enjoyed the industry expo sessions and was able to network with both other students and professionals.
— Amy Boldt, Student IIDA, Lawrence Technological University
To learn more about IIDA student membership, including professional development and leadership opportunities, visit iida.org.