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December 2010

Over 70 Interior Design Students Explore their OPTIONS

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By Kristyn Ivey, Allied Member ASID
Historian & Co-Chair, Student Affairs Committee

On Friday, November 5th, the ASID Washington Metro Chapter and the IIDA Mid-Atlantic Chapter co-hosted Student OPTIONS, a career event for area interior design students, offered bi-annually since 1995. More than 15 speakers, 35 participating design firms/showrooms, 40 volunteers and 70 students converged on the Washington Design Center, with check-in lines of excited students forming as early as 7:30 am. With 12 area schools represented, the day proved to be a success, with many students not only considering their career "options," but making decisions about the directions of their futures.

After starting the day with breakfast in the Kravet showroom, students followed one of two tracks (based on experience level and design preferences) which helped them make the most of their day. Beginner/intermediate level design students participated in sustainability and portfolio introduction seminars, as well as residential and commercial design panels.

Students were encouraged to evaluate how they are marketing themselves to prospective firms during the ASID: Branding Yourself seminar, led by President-Elect Brooke Traeger, ASID and Branding & Graphics Committee Chair, Matthew DeGeeter, Allied Member ASID.

"The examples they showed really helped me put things into perspective with where I want to start my own portfolio. So, now I feel more prepared."
- Toya Williams, Catonsville Community College student

Concurrently, advanced track design students had the opportunity to participate in a portfolio review facilitated by multiple industry professionals including At Large Director, Barbara Harries, ASID. While they waited for their reviews, emerging professionals learned about transitioning their body of work to digital platforms in the e-folio Lounge.

Barbara Harries advises a student during the portfolio reviews. e-folio Lounge

"I loved the constructive I can move on to really have a dynamic portfolio that will hopefully land me a job when I graduate in May."
- Elizabeth Giltner, Marymount University student

Design students were enlightened by Career Options Beyond a Designer panelists who had encouraging words for those currently on the job hunt in a challenging economic climate. "Firms are hiring now, and they are not advertising that they are hiring. So, if you know people that work at a firm, ask them if that firm is hiring," advised Susan Pelczynski, Principal, Business and Strategic Planning, SKB Architecture & Design.

During lunch, Kathleen Butler, Deputy Director of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, reminded students of the realities of the profession and public perception. "How many of you have trouble explaining to your friends and family why you have to have a degree to fluff pillows?...I want to make sure that you know that you are on a serious and professional career path. You are not a decorator, you are a professional designer."

Many students agreed that the highlight of the day proved to be the tours of small and large architecture and design firms including the Eighth Day Design, Ellerbe Becket, ForrestPerkins, FOX Architects, Gensler, Group Goetz Architects, Haworth, Hickok Cole Architects, HOK, Interior Architects, MOI, OPX Global, Perkins Will, RTKL, SKB Architects, SOM, Steelcase, STUDIOS Architecture, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Green Building Council, and VOA Associates, Inc., which opened their eyes to the realities associated with practicing interior design on a professional scale. Similar to an informational interview, students got a taste of firm culture, day-to-day responsibilities and operations.

"I really enjoyed touring some of the different was a neat back-end glance into some other options that you don’t even realize are out there until you start looking around."
- Elizabeth Reilly, Corcoran College of Art & Design student

At the end of a very eventful day, all gathered at the Washington Design Center Hall of Fame Design House to view the eight rooms on display and attend the Student OPTIONS wrap party sponsored by Knoll. Students were treated to raffle prizes, which included one year of free membership to ASID and IIDA.

"The main thing that I noticed about Student OPTIONS is that the education we’re getting is very relevant and up-to-date...everything was very familiar. All the stuff that [I’m] learning now is definitely going to be applied in the real world."
- Sara Ti, Art Institute of Washington student

"I really got a sense of the broad picture of interior design." 
- Elizabeth Giltner, Marymount University student

"...everyone should attend OPTIONS!"
- Lisa Nguessan, Art Institute of Washington student.

Special thanks to all of the Student OPTIONS planning team members representing ASID who made this day such a success: Bonnie Ammon, Eileen Daly, Kristyn Ivey, and Leslie Ehrmann.

An additional thank you to all of the speakers, volunteers, participating design firms/showrooms and the following event sponsors: ASID, C.M. Kling & Associates, Inc., Eykon Wallcoverings, IIDA, Knoll, Kravet, NCIDQ, and the Washington Design Center.

Become a fan of the ASID Washington Metro Chapter on Facebook to view additional pictures and a video blog recap of Student OPTIONS 2010.

American Society of Interior Designers | WASHINGTON METRO
9 Midhurst Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
T 202 488-4100