5 IIDA Student Members Share Their Memorable Moments from the IIDA Student Conference

Last year, the Trustees of the IIDA Foundation added a new initiative to the Designing for the Future Campaign: A portion of the funds raised from the campaign sponsored five IIDA Student Members for an all-expenses paid trip to the 2018 IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter’s Student Conference. The annual Student Conference brings together an array of top students, educators, and design industry professionals for a multi-day professional enrichment experience that includes project and firm tours, mock interviews, and a variety of other networking opportunities. Here, these five students talk about what they took away from the experience, the value of portfolio reviews, and what getting outside of your comfort zone can do for yourself and your career.

Making Fast Friends

With my sponsorship from IIDA, I was able to attend the 18th annual IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter Student Conference, an opportunity I otherwise wouldn’t have financially been able to do. I was the only student from my school and from the state of Utah to attend the conference — I was pretty nervous. However, on the first day, I rode the bus from the hotel to the pep rally at the Haworth showroom. I randomly sat by another student who was also there by herself from Kansas. We realized that we were both recipients of the same sponsorship from IIDA. That evening we met another student from California who had been sponsored to attend the conference and we all quickly became friends.

I participated in the portfolio review and mock interviews. I was nervous but I was paired with incredible designers who were very genuine, talented, and eager to help me. They gave me great feedback and comments on my portfolio and how to interview with ease.

Allison Newell, Student IIDA, Utah State University, Inter Mountain Chapter

Realizing What You Want to Focus On 

I’ve always been told that to be the best designer, you have to walk out on a limb, make that extra effort, and step out of your comfort zone. Well, in my two years of traveling from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Houston and Dallas, I can say that this conference has taught me some of the most valuable and interesting lessons about being the best designer I can be!

This year my experience was nothing short of amazing. Each year the Texas/Oklahoma Chapter make us Alabama students feel so welcome with their generosity and hospitality. Seriously, these volunteers who put together this conference give their hearts and souls to making this the most educational and rewarding experience for students. I have always known that I wanted to be a commercial designer, however, it was at last year’s student conference that I realized I wanted to focus on corporate and office design and create spaces that make work environments enjoyable.

Carmen Jenkins, Student IIDA, University of Alabama, Alabama Chapter

Surrounding Yourself with Passionate People

This was my first time ever attending the IIDA Student Conference. I’ll admit that I had no idea what to expect but the whole time being there was such a learning experience because I got to meet so many students that were just like me who knew what it was like to stay late in the studio to complete projects. It was so inspiring to see how passionate other people are about interior design, why they chose this career path, and what they are striving to be. There was so much to take in and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Nicolle Soriano, Student IIDA, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific Chapter

Learning How to Stand Up for Your Design

Any professional that I met, I made sure to grab their business cards. If they didn’t have one, I took a picture of their name tag. I now have a phone full of name tags and business cards. Each one of the professionals encouraged us to tap into their resources, ask them questions, email them about products, ideas, resumes, portfolios, etc. They wanted to help us succeed.

Our keynote speaker for the event, Primo Orpilla, co-founder of the firm Studio O+A, left all of us with some very wise words. He told us to find our voice, define our narrative, leverage space types to building flexibility, and to customize and curate success. We need to be in control of the design. Stand up for our design. We need to understand the things that make the space a memorable experience. Have empathy for the client and the space, not sympathy. He concluded his talk by reminding us that our design can change attitudes and how the users treat one another. Your designs have an impact!

Kellie DeVries, Student IIDA, Michigan State University, Michigan Chapter

The Power of a Portfolio Review

Our final day was loaded with panels and speakers, filling my head with very valuable information about stepping out into the world after school successfully. The best part of my day, however, was the portfolio review. After two conversations with a very kind Susan Bellson from JSI she pulled me over and set me up to do my review with Elizabeth Trupiano from Corgan and I got very lucky with that. Elizabeth asked great questions of me, listened intently and gave helpful critiques, and then sat and answered all of my questions until we ran out of time. I loved making friends and connections that I’m sure will last me years.

Chelsea Bainbridge, Student IIDA, Kansas State University, Mid America Chapter


To learn more about IIDA student membership, including professional development and leadership opportunities, visit iida.org.

Up Close with the IIDA Texas Tech University Campus Center

IIDA Campus Center: Texas Tech University

IIDA Chapter: Texas/Oklahoma Chapter

Where: Lubbock, Texas

Number of Student Members: 81

IIDA Campus Centers are the first point of contact interior design students have to IIDA. Each one is unique in design, programming, and initiatives, which makes for a varied student experience across chapters. We want to highlight the diversity of IIDA Student Member experiences by introducing you to a handful of campus centers. From how they run their group to what activities garner the most student interest, here’s what we learned from the IIDA Texas Tech University Campus Center.

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IIDA Student Members at their first member meeting. (Back left to front right) Rachel Carroll, Hayley Richburg, Emily Castleman, Liz Morgan, Emily Garth, Grace Swart, Katelynn Franklund, Anamika Kaewloyma, Sarah Castaneda, Marisa Somsiri, Olivia Oldham, Ryann Flack, Braxton Rutledge, Allison Reinacker, Cara Shoemaker, and Adrian Ibanez

Give us a snapshot of your IIDA Campus Center.

The IIDA Texas Tech Campus Center (IIDA TTU) consists of 50-60 graduate and undergraduate student members. Currently, there are nine elected officer positions: student president, president-elect, treasurer, treasurer-elect, public relations chair, special events chair, special events chair-elect, student mentor and secretary, and student mentor. At the end of each year, officers assess the ever-changing campus center needs and add or remove officer positions. IIDA TTU officers and student members also collaborate heavily with Michelle Pearson, Ph.D., faculty advisor, and IIDA West Texas (IIDA WTX) City Center council members for guidance and support.

Do you work with other organizations or design clubs?

We place a strong emphasis on collaboration with other organizations. We extend invitations to and collaborate with organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Knights of Architecture, and the Student American Society of Landscape Architecture.

On the annual Arbor Day event, IIDA, ASID, and AIA volunteer together and plant flowers throughout the Texas Tech Campus. Each fall semester, ASID hosts the West Texas Design Expo, and IIDA plays a large role in ensuring this event runs smoothly. In exchange for a free table at the Design Expo, IIDA helps ASID set up and tear down the expo.

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IIDA officers and faculty advisor at the ASID West Texas Design Expo.
(Top photo, left to right) Grace Swart, Bailey Estes, Jasmine Chavez, Ivy Lane, Dr. Michelle Pearson, Sahara Johnson, Hayley Richburg, Yadira Martinez, Laura Thomas, and Kaylee Polasek (Bottom photo, left to right) Kaylee Polasek, Grace Swart, Bailey Estes, Jasmine Chavez, and Laura Thomas

What kind of events and activities do you host at your Campus Center?

We host a variety of activities that are both educational and social in nature. Each event gives members the opportunity to network with IIDA professionals and other local design professionals. We offer events that are multifaceted and engaging such as the IIDA TTU Breakfast Roundtable and an NCIDQ Q&A session with a cupcake bar.

This year, IIDA events include: the IIDA versus ASID Olympics, the IIDA Annual Corn Maize social with interior design professionals, IIDA Student Conference, and a digital media workshop to teach members Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. This year, we’re excited to announce that we will be hosting our first IIDA TTU Annual Career Fair! This is an exciting opportunity for students to get advice on their resumes, portfolios, and potentially schedule interviews.

What are your favorite or most successful events and activities that you host?

The IIDA TTU Breakfast Roundtable is one of our most successful events.  We invite professionals from all over Texas to come have breakfast with the members and a guided discussion about a specific topic. This year’s topic was “Unfiltered Advice for the Soon-to-be-Professional.” This first-hand experience and advice is invaluable. We now know there are a wide variety of career opportunities available within the interior design industry than previously thought!

How do you collaborate with your local chapter?

IIDA TTU collaborates with the local city center by staying in close contact with the campus liaison and other council members. IIDA TTU officers are invited to the IIDA WTX council meetings each month and encouraged to ask for advice, share updates and event ideas, and discuss budgets.

The local city center also does a phenomenal job at making sure student members know they are not excluded from professional events—we are all IIDA members and are welcome to attend any IIDA event.

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IIDA Student Members at the annual Corn Maize Social (Top left to right) Adrian Ibanez, Nicole Byrom, Rachel Carroll, Kristen Chunn, Grace Swart, Bailey Estes, Kaylee Polasek, and Hayley Richburg

How do you get people engaged with your Campus Center and local chapter?

Social media plays a huge role. Each event is advertised through social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). We hang flyers throughout campus and in the Texas Tech Department of Design, and officers make announcements in our classes about upcoming events. We even make special trips to freshman-level classes to ensure they know they are welcome at all events! Occasionally, we have challenges or donated prizes which adds to the fun. We strive to make all events social and educational in nature. It is important that IIDA events are fun and engaging; however, it is also important members gain something that will help them in their professional lives.

What is the biggest benefit of being an IIDA Member and having an active campus center?

Being an IIDA Member opens a channel between students of different ages, creating a dialogue and camaraderie that would not otherwise exist. Students can mentor younger students and encourage them. The relationships fostered within the IIDA TTU Campus Center are relationships that will be further built upon as students move into the professional world. The opportunity to interact with peers in a professional-oriented and social atmosphere is invaluable.


See what the Texas Tech Campus Center is up to by following them on Facebook and Instagram! Visit iida.org to learn more about IIDA Campus Centers. 

From Interior Design Student to Interior Design Professional: 5 Tips to Keep in Mind

You graduated from your interior design program – congratulations! Now it’s time to tackle the next challenge: preparing for your career as a professional designer. This June, IIDA brought together four design industry experts to answer the questions students and recent graduates want answered. Thank you to Stacey Harloe, Ind. IIDA, of OFS Brands, Amy Leigh Hufford, Student IIDA, of NELSON, Hunter Charles Kaiser, IIDA, NCIDQ, of hk+c, and Rebekah L. Matheny, IIDA, of The Ohio State University for sharing their wealth of knowledge, insight, and advice at this year’s Career Bootcamp Panel sponsored by OFS Brands. From what makes a standout portfolio to how to network with the pros, here’s what they had to offer about succeeding in a career in interior design.

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Adopting a “humanistic” approach to solving a problem doesn’t just live in the area of medicine; it’s a significant part of your practice as a designer. Fulfilling a design concept for a client requires as much empathy as it does efficiency. “When the clients talk, they’re telling us the solution,” said Hunter. “We need to extrapolate it.” Be prepared to ask questions like, “What do you want to be able to accomplish in your space?” and “How does the space make you feel?” Use words that your client can understand, not design jargon. Talk less, listen more. Establishing rapport and trust with your client are crucial to maintaining a happy and healthy working relationship.

Tell Me Your Story

Rebekah starts the design process with her clients by asking them their story. “Sometimes, it’s not the client you’re designing for, it’s their customers, it’s their users of the space. How do you communicate the unfolding story in the space?” Understanding your client’s story will guide your design and dig deeper into the underlying goals and objectives. Added Amy, “We’re not designing for now, we’re designing for the future. At NELSON, we ask them, ‘How can we make you start your future now?’ ‘How can we institute change management for your company to make you perform better?’”

Process, Personality, Confidence

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A unique, creative, and diverse portfolio along with a strong skillset show you’re a talented and capable designer. Your personality and ability to describe your process eloquently are what sell you. “You’re going to have to articulate your vision to your clients, so there’s a selling acumen that starts very early for you, and that’s in the interview,” said Stacey. Build your confidence; practice articulating your portfolio as you prepare for job interviews. Come armed with questions, be inquisitive, and have a positive attitude. “Skills can be taught. It’s the thought process that’s most important because you’re bringing your mind set — the way you see and experience the world around you,” said Rebekah.

Share Your Work

Social media has become a natural part of our day. It’s as easy to post pictures of our vacation as it is pictures of our work. For some designers, sharing images of their work has been a real concern – what if someone copies my idea? Stacey embraces that. “When someone copies your idea, that is pretty rewarding. That’s gratification that you did something good, and that idea will become parent to later ideas.” We live in a world of sharing. If you’re doing something that’s well-done and you’re proud of, let people see it and learn from it. Conversely, added Hunter, share your mistakes so we could learn from those too.

Have a Dialogue

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It can be intimidating to approach designers when you want to catch them for a couple of minutes at a networking event or at the end of a talk. Rest assured, many of them know that. “Every designer started at one point too,” said Hunter. To help you break the ice, do a little bit of homework and research the designer before attending the event. What was the last project they worked on that you liked and why? Where did they get their start? Knowing these answers will inform what questions you ask and maybe find some common ground with them. And, quite honestly, sometimes starting the conversation is as simple as a compliment. “Find a way to flatter them,” said Amy.

But dialogue is a two-way street. “It’s also our responsibility [as professional designers] to say hi,” said Rebekah. “We need to make that human connection with you. Let’s shift to a collaborative process. Let’s co-design.”


Check out the IIDA Career Bootcamp page for information about the the Career Bootcamp Panel, interviewing, and networking. We also encourage you to reach out to your local Campus Center leaders for resources and suggestions that meet your needs as an IIDA Student Member. 

 

Up Close with the Kent State University Campus Center

IIDA Campus Center: Kent State University

IIDA Chapter: Ohio Kentucky Chapter

Where: Kent, Ohio

Number of Student Members: 40

IIDA Campus Centers are the first point of contact interior design students have to IIDA. Each one is unique in design, programming, and initiatives, which makes for a varied student experience across chapters. We want to highlight the diversity of IIDA Student Member experiences by introducing you to a handful of campus centers. From how they run their group to what activities garner the most student interest, here is what we learned after sitting down with the IIDA Kent State University Campus Center.

Give us a snapshot of your Campus Center.

Kent State University’s Campus Center is an umbrella organization for interior design students that aims to unite IIDA and ASID. We have about 40 student members within our organization. A majority of these members are aspiring interior designers from the interior design program but the organization is open to all students on campus.

Recently there has been a large push to incorporate architecture students into the group to encourage cross collaboration. We aspire to evolve the organization and remain cutting edge and align with the goals of our school’s architecture college, which focuses heavily on integration and collaboration between programs.

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Do you work with other organizations or design clubs?

We work with other organizations like Alpha Rho Chi (APX), an architecture-based business fraternity on campus, graphic design students, and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) to create the Design Arts Ball. We have an open relationship with APX and AIAS and join them for meetings, firm crawls, and workshops.

 What kind events and activities do you host at your Campus Center?

We all agree that events that would allow for more collaboration and inclusion for all would best benefit the group. Events and activities include but are not limited to: lunch and learns with professionals, firm tours, software workshops, social networking events, along with volunteer opportunities like Relay for Life, AIA/IIDA Design Awards, and one of our favorites, Zerolandfill.

kent-1-finalWhat are your favorite or most successful events and activities that you host?

Our favorite — and successful event — would have to be Relay for Life. This activity allows students to connect with different organizations around campus, as well as support a great cause. Another successful activity for us is volunteering at Zerolandfill. Our members are a large face of the event in both Akron and Cleveland. We love to help recycle old materials, and [the activity] also allows students to connect with professionals in the area in a less intimidating way. We like to get younger members involved to help ease them into the community.

How do you collaborate with your local chapter?

We are lucky in that our IIDA community is more than willing to engage us in their activities! Our Campus Center presidents are invited to attend monthly meetings with the Akron/Cleveland City Center. They also create fun events for us to interact with other design schools nearby and other professionals — it really brings the whole community together, something for which we feel very grateful for.

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How do you get people engaged with your Campus Center and local chapter?

We have found the key to engagement at the Campus Center level is frequency and variability. Our board has surveyed the group and worked on putting together events that our members ask for. Through our great professionals we are able to remain very connected to the local IIDA Chapter. Our members are able to engage with professionals through volunteer opportunities, local conferences, design charrettes, and networking events. Our board has been extremely happy with what the group has become!

What is the biggest benefit of being an IIDA Member?

We recently had this conversation just before our graduation. As a freshman, you feel so lost and overwhelmed. Joining IIDA early helps you use your time in school to prepare for “the real world.” Our students have the opportunity to create relationships with people in different sides of the industry, giving them the skills and confidence to succeed on their career paths. We believe it is important to have an active IIDA Campus Center not only to educate and inform our students and the general public of the importance of interior design, but to prepare students to be the best, well-rounded designers they can be.


Learn more about IIDA Campus Centers at iida.org

My Top Five: The Best of NeoCon by the 2017 IIDA Student of the Year

Hi, I’m Lindzey Duval, 2017 IIDA Student of the Year, and here are my top five favorite moments at NeoCon! Although every moment was special, there were a handful that were unforgettable.

ACCEPTING THE IIDA STUDENT OF THE YEAR AWARD

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On stage at Annual Meeting with Cheryl Durst, IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO. (Photography by Elaine Miller Photography)

At the IIDA Annual Meeting, I had the unique opportunity to share my story and experiences on stage when I accepted the Student of the Year Award. It may have been one of the most nerve-racking things I have ever done, but it was also one of the most amazing and unforgettable moments in my life so far. I never expected to feel so much love and support from my family, friends, Texas State University, and the design industry. Accepting the award at the Annual Meeting takes the cake of favorite moments during my experience at NeoCon!

STUDENT DESIGN CHARETTE

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This was the third design charette that I have participated in and this one was by far my favorite of the three. As someone who loves working with others, I enjoyed collaborating with students from across the nation from many different universities. Everyone who was part of my team brought their own unique background and thought process to the table and it was great to see our charette project unfold. And taking second place was pretty cool, too!

MEETING NEW FRIENDS + MAKING CONNECTIONS

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Accepting 2nd place at the 2017 IIDA Student Design Charette from judges Joseph White, IIDA, NCIDQ, IDEX, LEED AP, director of workplace strategy, design, and management at Herman Miller, and Primo Orpilla, FIIDA, president and co-founder of Studio O+A.

NeoCon brings together people from across the world — I met students and industry professionals I may have never had the chance to meet if I wasn’t there. From Philadelphia and D.C., to California, Illinois, Indiana, and New York, I was fortunate to learn from the unique experiences and backgrounds of each person I met and what is currently happening in the design field where they live.

IIDA COOL GALA

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Opening reception at COOL with Doug Shapiro, Ind. IIDA, vice president of the IIDA International Board of Directors.

If you happen to be unfamiliar with the COOL Gala,think of it as the design Oscars. Sounds fancy, huh? It is! Everyone was head-to-toe glam celebrating design excellence and some pretty amazing projects from this year’s Interior Design Competition and Will Ching Design Competition. I enjoyed chatting with everyone and dancing the night away. Shout out to OFS Brands for inviting me and for sponsoring my award. They are total rock stars!

THE SHOWROOMS AT THE MART

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This was my first year at NeoCon and it is safe to say that I was blown away by the creativity and thought put into each showroom this year. It made standing in those long elevator lines worth it! If you’ve been to NeoCon, you know what I am talking about. Seeing everyone’s hard work and research come to life was so rewarding. Plus, get ready for some great new products coming our way this year. I cannot express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to attend because of IIDA! Thank you to everyone who made my experience so great.


Lindzey Duval is a member of the IIDA Texas/Oklahoma Chapter. You can view the rest of her – along with other IIDA Members – NeoCon experience on Instagram by following #IIDAtakeover.

Up Close with the Puget Sound Campus Center

IIDA Campus Center: Puget Sound

IIDA Chapter: IIDA Northern Pacific Chapter

Where: Greater Puget Sound Region, Washington

Number of Student Members: 126 

IIDA Campus Centers are the first point of contact interior design students have to IIDA. Each one is unique in design, programming, and initiatives, which makes for a varied student experience across chapters. We want to highlight the diversity of IIDA Student Member experiences by introducing you to a handful of campus centers. From how they run their group to what activities garner the most student interest, here is what we learned after sitting down with the IIDA Puget Sound Campus Center.

IIDA HQ: Give us a snapshot of your Campus Center.

IIDA Puget Sound Campus Center: The Puget Sound Campus Center (PSCC) is unusual because it consists of students from multiple schools, including Bellevue College, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle Pacific University, The Art Institute of Seattle, and Sanford-Brown College. The PSCC Council, the Campus Center’s governing board, is made up of three professionals and 12 students. The professionals on the council are there to assist the students with planning the events. The rest of the council is comprised of students from all levels of study. The student president oversees the entire council, which is made up of chairs for events, membership, social media, and community outreach, plus a treasurer, secretary, and a liaison for each school. Each chair has a coordinator to help with the division of work. We choose student board members first by merit and then by seniority.

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IIDA HQ: What kind of events and activities do you host as a Campus Center?

PSCC: Our Campus Center has seven events throughout the year. The Portfolio Workshop is where students have their portfolios critiqued and Marked Up gives students the opportunity to have a single project critiqued by a panel of judges for a chance to win an academic award. Both of these events are hosted by the professionals on our council.

Students plan and host all other events from a built environment tour to professional/student mixers. Part of the requirement for being on the PSCC Council is that each student must help plan at least one event. This year, our programming includes a built environment tour of a trio of Tom Douglas Restaurants; speed mentoring; and our End of Year Party to celebrate the accomplishments of the group and announce the upcoming council. New this year is the Product Showcase, a small tradeshow, to introduce students to local representatives and educate them about different products and materials. We try to have a wide range of programming so students can see as many aspects of the profession as possible. We also have mentorship moments at each event to give students insight about certain aspects of the profession.

IIDA HQ: How do you collaborate with your local chapter?

PSCC: This year, our community outreach project is in collaboration with the IIDA Northern Pacific Chapter Advocacy Committee. We work together to design and furnish a space for a deserving charity. Students are invited to volunteer or attend certain chapter events to help them engage with the local design community.

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IIDA HQ: How do you get people engaged with your Campus Center and local chapter?

PSCC: We have monthly council meetings open to any student. This way our council can check in with each other on a regular basis, and interested students can come see what we’re all about. We also have liaisons for each school to engage with peers in classrooms and hand out materials. We have one person dedicated to social media to attract attention to our events.

IIDA HQ: What is the biggest benefit of having an active Campus Center?

PSCC: The biggest benefit of an active Campus Center is that it allows for students to create meaningful events, give back to the community, and network among peers and professionals. It helps students start their career with a support system in their designer toolbox.


Follow the IIDA Puget Sound Campus Center on Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about IIDA Campus Centers, visit iida.org