Design and Industry Turns Golden
Alumni share tricks of the trade at annual portfolio event
November 9, 2006 7:56 PM
The Design and Industry Department, DAI, kicked off the first of three events celebrating their 50th anniversary yesterday with their annual portfolio night. A three-hour event, portfolio night is an opportunity for DAI Alumni to share their professional portfolios – showing current students the possible success that comes with a DAI degree.
And DAI students seemed to do just that.
“It’s inspiring on a level, you get to see what people are doing and where you can go,” Phillip La, 22 said of the two-part panel that included both current graduate student projects and alumni portfolios.
Student attendance to portfolio night, held in Jack Adams Hall was larger than usual this year, at about 150 people, 15-year DAI chair Ricardo Gomes said. Although some students were there because they were getting extra credit to attend, some stayed until after the 9 pm end of the event to converse one-on-one with the panelists.
Joshua Mercado, a senior double majoring in Industrial Technology and Product Design said he attended the event because he “was looking to get insight into how to get into the field I’ve been in for 5 years.”
From advice on paying particular attention to the business and marketing aspects of DAI courses to encouraging networking and internships, the alumni told students to do what many career counselors might advise. Only they knew precisely what current SFSU students are going through.
“The speakers were able to articulate their own experiences and relate them to the students,” Mercado said of the event’s effectiveness. It was particularly inspiring to see someone he knew on stage, Mercado said of North Face employee Brett Krasniewicz, who graduated in the spring of last year. “Its nice to see one of my classmates turn professional.”
Krasniewicz was one of 5 people on the alumni side of the panel who showcased portfolios. From self-described “elder” Louise Phillip’s, extensive work in designing Safeway packaging to Rob Antonio’s work in designing and inventing children’s toys, the panelists had graduated between the years of 1980 and 2005. They showed a variety of ways a DAI degree could be turned into a career.
“What did I want two years ago? How to get a job,” Krasniewicz asked rhetorically going on to give students his experience of how he searched for a job, from Craigslist.org to recruiting. He said it all basically boils down to timing, being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people
The graduate students' side of the panel showcased their work in research and design projects within the DAI program. Gomes pointed out that the panelist's projects were all involved in the "everyday," designing machines used at the airport and products found at the grocery store. The work was done by four graduate students, whom Gomes deemed “absolutely outstanding,” and ranged from furniture design to airport security screening machines.
“I want to be at that level, doing quality work, enough so to be acknowledged,” La said. The senior and first year DAI student is majoring in Cinema and only minoring in DAI. He admitting that DAI would have been his first choice except he didn’t think there was any money to be made in it. La said last night’s event gave him some perspective.
“They were where I am now…and they made it,” La said. “It gives hope.”
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