I was surprised, excited, and honored to be selected by the IIDA Cleveland Akron City Center to attend and participate in the IIDA SHIFT Student Conference in Dallas, TX. What an absolutely an enlightening and rewarding experience that will undoubtedly enrich the start of my professional design career.
To start the conference experience off, participants attended a Pep Rally-style meet + greet at the Steelcase Showroom, located in the Design District of Dallas on Wednesday evening.
Jumping right back into the excitement the following morning, the main day of events began with a Kick-Off breakfast where design professionals spoke about what they look for in the interview process, which I really appreciated the insight on!
One of my favorite parts of the conference were the A/D office + showroom tours. My group had the privilege of touring CannonDesign, the Dallas Herman Miller Showroom, as well as the Hart Associates Showroom. I was able to see what the design industry was like in a different part of the country and our group leaders, designers at CannonDesign, were extremely helpful and really inspired me.
The conference also offered the opportunity to participate in workshops, where working in groups, we completed quick turnaround, hands-on activities, including ‘Accessing Health Impacts of Interior Finishes’ and ‘Rapid Prototyping: Future of Workplace’. These workshops were particularly fun because we were able to work directly with other students from all over the country.
Another favorite experience of the conference was the Design Expo, which allowed for firms and industry reps to set up tables and product displays and as participants, we were able to walk around, talk with various professionals, make connections, hand out resumes, and generally have fun!
Rounding out the experience on the final day of the conference, we began with a panel discussion over breakfast, which was an interactive Q&A session with six design professionals. This was particularly interesting because we were able to ask our own questions as design students and then receive multiple points of view from professionals in the industry. Additional areas of discussion during what was referred to as “101 Sessions” offered the opportunity to receive professional opinions about a wide variety of topics including job offers, public speaking, experiential design, and portfolios.
The conference concluded with the keynote luncheon with an amazing speech by Cheryl Durst, Executive Vice President & CEO of IIDA.
I am so grateful to have earned this opportunity. This experience has strengthened my passion for design and excited me for my transition to my professional career. Thank you, IIDA Cleveland Akron!
Abby Medwetz, Student IIDA
Kent State University, 4th Year Interior Design Student