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IIDA Student Shift Reflection

The entire conference was filled with passionate future designers and while I learned so much from the professionals, I also learned so much from the other students around me.

I want to thank the IIDA Alabama Chapter for giving me the opportunity to go to Dallas for the IIDA Texas/Oklahoma Chapter SHIFT conference. Also, a special thank you to Carmen Blackman, IIDA Alabama VP of Student Affairs, for introducing me to this event and helping to make it all possible. The entire conference was filled with passionate future designers and while I learned so much from the professionals, I also learned so much from the other students around me. 

Getting to visit Gensler’s Dallas office was a dream come true. The representatives at Teknion’s showroom were so knowledgeable about their products and taught me so much about contract furniture as well as WELL being standards. Learning about ergonomics in the workplace, from Humanscale showed me a whole new look on workstation design. They also taught us about their Smart Ocean chair that is the only product on the market that is net positive, meaning it actually benefits the environment when they make one of these products. Cannon Design’s workshop was a game of “Designer Life” where we were given real-life situations that happen when working on a project and had to come up with a solution depending on what role we played in the company. This was very informative to what different positions in a firm do and the chain of command within the workplace. In the next workshop, Interior Architects put on a thirty-minute design charette for us and I was actually able to present my team’s design for a law firm in Austin, TX. The student round table for executive members of the Campus Centers was the most helpful for me to hear what has been successful at other campus centers and how to get more students involved in IIDA at the campus level as well as state level. 

Later that night was the Industry Table Top Expo where I was able to learn about new products, mingle with students, and make connections with designers in the area. Mock interviews and portfolio reviews were the next morning. I was able to get great feedback on my portfolio and make a great connection with a designer in the area. During mock interviews, I was able to talk to the director of business development at CORE Design and she was able to give me great advice on how to approach difficult interview questions. The other two sessions I attended taught me invaluable information about networking and the NCIDQ. Throughout the conference I was able to meet so many people that were working so hard to make each student’s experience beneficial and I am so thankful for all of the people who made SHIFT happen. Thank you again for the incredible opportunity to learn and grow as a designer. 

-Mollie Evans