This past semester I was awarded the opportunity to attend the IIDA SHIFT Conference in Dallas, Texas. I was thrilled that the IIDA Ohio Kentucky Chapter chose to sponsor my participation in this enriching event, which otherwise would not have been possible. I had never been to Texas before or had the opportunity to participate in a learning experience such as this.
There were many different activities and events that took place over the three-day trip. To kick it off, I was able to attend the Design Charette Wednesday afternoon. I did not know what to expect having never participated in a charette before, but it was a lot of fun! We were placed on random teams and asked to design an art gallery that raised awareness on blindness which was a unique challenge. It was great way to meet new people and to see how other students work on design projects based on their studio’s processes. Later that night there was a Pep-Rally sponsored by Steelcase that gave students and professionals the chance to meet and mingle. Later that night some friends and I went out to grab a Velvet Taco which we do not have in Columbus yet!
On Thursday, students were broken up into groups to visit showrooms and firms around the city after having a breakfast presentation on best interview practices. It was nice to see different parts of Dallas as well as gain insight on what the industry is like in a different part of the country. In the evening, I attended the Design Expo, which had booths of different dealers, manufactures, and firms. It was a great time to network and have fun!
Friday was the best day for professional development in my opinion because of the various workshops that were provided. I attended a class on environmental graphics and building your portfolio before a rapid prototyping session where I was able to practice speaking in front of large groups. Afterwards, I learned about healthy and sustainable materials before a portfolio review and mock interview which were great practice and a lot of fun.
The day ended with a keynote luncheon by Cheryl Durst, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA. Cheryl was hilarious, relatable, and inspiring. I left feeling more passionate about design and sharing that passion with others.
Overall, I had an amazing three days in Dallas at the IIDA SHIFT Conference. It went by super-fast, but I was able to take away experiences that would continue to help me develop professionally as I finish school and step into the professional world. Thank you IIDA!