SHIFT – Student Highlight



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We’re excited to share some of the incredible things our student members have had the opportunity to be involved in!


Earlier this year, four students on the IIDA Northland Student Advisory Board were selected and sponsored by the Northland Chapter Education Fund (NCEF) to attend the national IIDA SHIFT Conference in Dallas, Texas. SHIFT’s mission is to provide a memorable, educational experience for the future of the design industry. Uniting as one to guide students as they shift from their school careers to their professional careers. This annual student conference brings together top students, educators and design industry professionals for a professional enrichment experience that includes tours (project, design firms and showrooms), mock interviews, design charettes and a variety of other networking opportunities.


The students sponsored by IIDA Northland to attend were:

-Kat Lauer, Dunwoody

-Katie Reed, Dunwoody

-Lauren Humphrey, University of Wisconsin-Stout

-Mikaila Kopcho, University of Minnesota


[from left: Lauren Humphrey (UW-Stout), Kat Lauer (Dunwoody), Katie Reed (Dunwoody), Mikaila Kopcho (UofM), Brandie Lende (Dunwoody), Bri Schumacher (Dunwoody), Ikaria Becker (Dunwoody)]



Students were paired up to complete a design charette, completing a full design in just four hours. This partnership was especially challenging as, unlike similar exercises at their respective schools, their assigned peer partners had an entirely different background, skills set and knowledge base/curriculum than their own.



[Design Charette]



Dunwoody’s Kat Lauer was taken with how the details in our industry are so critical, whether it’s part of the design process and construction or communication within a company and the way you follow up after an interview. She describes the details she observed as part of the project tours, “My bus first stopped at a recently built office tower in Dallas.  The shared tenant spaces in that building had many little details that made the space, but one of them was a large lighting feature that ran up and over the whole lobby space. The interior designers talked about how they spent a lot of time getting that detail right, since it was going to be so large – and literally lit up – so as a highlight of the space, and if it wasn’t right, everyone would notice.”




[Site Tours]




Workshops were among the favorite activities experienced during the SHIFT conference. University of Minnesota’s Mikaila Kopocho reflects, “The first workshop was a Rapid Prototyping Workshop hosted by IA. In this workshop, we had 10 minutes to brainstorm ideas for a creative workplace, and 30 minutes to build a prototype using various items in the prototyping kit provided to us. This was a unique way to come up with out of the box ideas for a design and could definitely be used in future projects as a fun way to conceptualize.”




[Rapid Prototyping Exercise]




Perkins+Will hosted a presentation about the importance of finish selections and their impacts on health and safety of people and the environment. Students dove into a hands-on activity following, requiring them to investigate the ingredients of two flooring options and select the most environmentally friendly option.  Dunwoody’s Katie Reed says, “We often learn about LEED certification and selecting the appropriate finishes for the environment we are designing, but the health impacts of these materials are not often talked about. It can be easily forgotten that we are not only responsible for creating enjoyable, functional spaces for others, but we are also responsible for the health impacts our designs have on those who experience the spaces.” Reed says she will look further into the products and ingredients that she specifies in the future as a result of this workshop.








Career-focused workshops and presentations gave valuable insight about interviewing, the questions to ask and how to follow up. University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Lauren Humphrey reflects, “Being able to practice an interview with industry professionals allowed me to get many pointers and a boost of confidence when walking into future interviews. It was also helpful to get feedback on my current portfolio and gain some insight to what firms are looking for in student work.” Kat Lauer took away the importance of asking for more detail before the interview, “When prepping for an interview, asking how many people will be interviewing you and in what sort of room – a small detail that will make all the difference in how comfortable you feel walking into that room.  The detail of following up with a thank you note can make a difference in showing your sincere interest in a job you interviewed for.”




[Site Tours]




Upcoming… PIQUE!

Dunwoody’s Katie Reed references IIDA Northland’s own PIQUE student experience as a comparable experience to the IIDA SHIFT Conference, only in a shorter timeframe. This year’s PIQUE experience will be on July 31, 2019. PIQUE a series of engaging events, including a Forum tour for students only, a workshop discovering creative business practices and brand identity, followed by admission to Minnecon at Target Field, an industry tradeshow with exposure to the latest finishes and products and professional networking. Visit the IIDA Northland PIQUE website for more information and to register!




Caitlin Wolff – Brand and Communications Manager, GOP – Communications Committee Member


IIDA Northland Chapter Blog

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