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College of Design

Monday, September 30, 2013

Life Happens Outside of Studio

The most important rule I always remember while in school is to make time for yourself and to take breaks when you need them. The design process can be very intense and the studio and workshop culture will keep you busy as you research, create, diagram and model your ideas. Take advantage of your classmates! They are wonderful people to befriend, as they are great resources and the select few who understand the process you are going through as an architecture student. If you need a break, take a walk to a nearby restaurant in Dinkytown or along Washington Avenue to grab lunch or dinner with your classmates or simply stop and chat with them in the hallways. The bond between architecture students is amazing and often you find yourself laughing uncontrollably at jokes only an architecture student could understand. Don't give up your hobbies outside of school either. Try your best to manage your time and schoolwork so you can fit your hobbies into your schedule at least once a week. I often plan out my assignments at the beginning of the week so I can complete them in time and fit my hobbies in as well. Continuing your hobbies is a great way to clear your mind and distress. Check out this link for Student Unions and Activities offered at the U. There are so many things to discover and become involved in! Lastly, enjoy what you are doing in school. Don't be afraid to take risks and test design boundaries because that is what makes great and intriguing architecture!

What's NEXT?

NEXT is a design competition organized by Steelcase, a manufacturer of office furniture. Our big semester project for Interior Design Studio VI is to design a new age office space for fictional company, "NEXT". This is an individual project that we've working on for the bulk of the semester - definitely a great way to get hands on design experience through the entire process. There are lots of super cool prizes and perks that come with winning this competition (including fame and glory, of course), so I'm working hard to come up with a successful design solution. It's been nice having the competition incorporated into coursework so that we have studio time in class for critique, etc.

I'll keep you posted as I progress!

Interior Design

Time Flies When You're Designing

Wow! I'm into my 4th week of the semester, but yet it still feels like the semester just started a week ago!

Right now in my apparel design studio class we've been working on draping, which is fantastic! It really gets you involved with the fabric and the dress forms and makes you feel like you're on Project Runway or something. Our dress project is coming due this Thursday, so the feeling of Project Runway's time crunch is definitely in the air. Below are pictures of what I've been working on. The garment itself is a test in muslin, and once I've decided the fit is perfect I'll create in in my final fabrics.

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Time definitely flies fast in the apparel design program and you definitely won't be bored. At times, it can seem overwhelming to think about all the work that goes into my projects, but something about being in the studio and working with the fabrics and dress forms gives me energy. Then once I finish my projects and see the end result, the satisfaction of seeing it go from plain fabric to an actual dress is so gratifying and rejuvenating!

To see the final results of my dress and hear more updates about me, Go to and follow my blog!

Lee, Apparel Design major

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'm an Architect, OH!!!

Well, I'm not an architect quite yet. My name is Jen Cunningham and I am a senior in the Bachelor of Science in Architecture program here at the University of Minnesota. My love for design; space, form and order have all been confirmed through studying architecture. When not at school I enjoy spending my time in good company and discovering new places. I look forward to blogging throughout the year about my experiences as an architecture student, campus life, student organizations, the studio atmosphere and much more! You can stay connected with me by visiting this link:

This photograph is from my trip to Seattle, Washington when I went to visit the University of Washington's graduate program for architecture. During my trip I explored the beautiful natural environment including hiking up the 3,500 foot elevation of Little Si. LittleSi.jpg

Here is a little parody to leave you with. Enjoy!

Portfolio Review Approaches!

Here at the University of Minnesota, fall is one of the most exciting times of the year. With football games, homecoming events, and tons of campus activities, there is never a dull moment. As a sophomore pre-graphic design student, fall also means one more thing: Portfolio Review.

This important day, which once seemed so far off, is now rapidly approaching. In just a few short weeks I will present my design coursework to a panel of judges who will determine whether or not I will be able to continue on as an official graphic design major.

Portfolio.JPGThroughout the month of September, my nerves steadily rose in anticipation of the big day. I was anxious to prepare in any way I could, so when an opportunity arose for me to attend an informational portfolio review session with CDes faculty, I jumped at the chance.

The session was not only extremely informative, but also helped to calm the rapidly multiplying butterflies in my stomach. The faculty members were friendly, knowledgeable, and addressed everything from portfolio requirements to appropriate dress. Students also were given the opportunity to ask any questions regarding the portfolio review process.

After attending the information session, I feel much more comfortable, confidant, and mentally prepared. I have begun assembling my portfolio, picking and choosing the pieces that best demonstrate my abilities as a designer. Even though there is still much preparation to be done, I finally feel ready to face portfolio review.

Graphic Design

Internships... already?!

It's the fourth week into my college career, and I already have internships on my mind. I must! I'm a freshman, but I took advantage of PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Options) and came to the U with 50 credits. So basically, as I have reached sophomore and a half status, credit-wise, it's about time.

I am eager to gain experience in my housing studies field. As it is a diverse major, with concentration areas in community development and policy, housing technology, management and finance, selected populations, and sustainability, there are many opportunities to search through! I am grateful that the U of M provides me with the tools to face such a task.

Above is McNeal Hall, where the career center is located.

This past Friday I visited the Career and Internship Services in Saint Paul, and a very helpful specialist and I got down to business. She helped me with my resume, explained to me what Linked In was and what informational interviews are, and most importantly, we began the search for internships! I am on my way.

I will keep y'all posted on my journey to a summer internship.

Stay sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.


Ski-U-Madness that is! This week was busier than most, filled with homecoming activities, a football game, models, videos, and papers. Since I had so much to do I really had to budget my time. I find it helpful to sit down at the beginning of the week and plan out when I am going to complete my assignments so I can finish everything on time and in order to have fun during homecoming as well! With the busy schedule I had to do my homework in many different places this week in various study spaces. From the Architecture Library to STSS there was never a shortage of spaces to work. With all of my homework done, I was able to participate in the homecoming parade with my dorm and go to the homecoming game against Iowa (in the rain.) Even though we lost the game I had a great week and an even better homecoming!
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Left: My roommate and I at the football game
Right: My dorm in the Homecoming Parade

Landscape Design and Planning

Friday, September 27, 2013

New Arch blogger coming soon!

Greetings everyone...once we work out some technical issues our new architecture blogger, Jennifer Cunningham, will begin blogging. Otherwise, please enjoy Beau Sinchai's awesome blogs from last year!

College of Design Student Services

Lights, Camera...MN Fashion!

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This past Wednesday marked the kickoff of the MN Fashion Shows held at Twin Cities hotspot, ARIA. The fashion shows feature the latest collections of Twin Cities designers, including both veterans and emerging talent. This year's show lineup included a collection by Christopher Straub, Minneapolis native and competitor on the ultimate fashion television show; Project Runway.

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The MN Fashion shows are the perfect way for U of M students to get involved with the Twin Cities fashion scene! Want to experience live fashion from the audience? The College of Design Student and Alumni Board offered students discounted tickets and transportation to go see the shows. Students are also able to get involved behind the scenes and be a MN Fashion volunteer. If you're looking for a career in fashion, or just love the thrill of watching looks walk down the runway, MN Fashion is the place to be!

Check out their website for all the details on MN Fashion, and for info about CDES Student and Alumni Board!

Stay fabulous,

Monday, September 23, 2013

If I summed myself up in a paragraph...

IMG_1030.JPGHi! My name's Ashley and I am a junior in the interior design program at the U. I am originally from Brooklyn Park and I chose the U of M because it's located in the heart of the Twin Cities. I stay very busy and in addition to being a student, I also intern at a local architecture firm, work for the college of design as an Events and Communications Office Assistant, and serve as the Vice President of the Interior Design Student Association. I often get asked, "How do you do it all?!", and the answer is I love being involved and I thrive off of a jam packed schedule. Somehow I also still manage to have fun! The photo is of me and my good friend Daveen adventuring in Uptown Minneapolis. I look forward to blogging this year and I hope you look forward to reading! Bookmark this link to and stay tuned!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Apparel Designer in the Making

Hey everyone! I'm Lee Tran. I'm the new blogger for the apparel design program at the University of Minnesota, and I'll be blogging about my experiences and myself as an apparel design major throughout the year. This will be an experience and adventure that we can share together!

I guess to get things started, let's talk about me. I'm a second year in the apparel design program. I'm originally from Sioux City, IA and lived in South Dakota for about 8 years. I was previously a marketing major at a different university, but I always had a passion for fashion design, so I did my research and found the program here that U of M. Of course, I looked into other schools when I did my research, but the location, the price, and the city sold the U of M for me.

My life here at the U of M doesn't just end with my academics. I am also an active member of the Delta Lambda Phi fraternity, which keeps me very active with various things in the community, with emphasis on the GLBTQ community. I also have many other interests like shopping for both designer and bargain gems, but you'll definitely get more insight on me as my blog progresses. You'll basically find out that I like to have fun with everything!

Here you can see me with my fraternity at the Pride Parade and below is a closer shot of me in my red toga! I made and dyed the togas myself!



Go to and follow my blog to read more about my experiences and me as an apparel designer major!

From Farms to Photoshop

Hi everyone! My name is Kate, and I'm a sophomore graphic design student here at the College of Design.

Although I've lived in Minnesota my entire life, I never expected to end up here at the U. I'm originally from Tracy, Minnesota, which is a small town in the southwest corner of the state. I graduated with a class of 61 students, most of whom (myself included) spent their summers working on farms. The photo below shows my friend Lexi and I during one summer that we worked together on a local farm. Our job was scour corn and bean fields for large rocks that could potentially damage farm equipment. RockPicking.jpg

Despite my rural upbringing, I always had big dreams for the future. From the time I was a toddler, I wanted to be an artist. As I got older, my goals shifted to pro-athlete to archaeologist and everywhere in between. When I was finally faced with the decision of what to pursue in college, the answer came surprisingly easy - graphic design was the obvious choice. With my major decided, I began to look at colleges. I was initially attracted to smaller schools, and was extremely reluctant to consider the U. After some persuasion from my family, I finally agreed to go on a tour.

Much to my surprise, I immediately loved it - I loved the city, the campus, and especially the College of Design. Now, with a year under my belt, I'm happy to say that I have not been disappointed. I've enjoyed my classes immensely and I've made some great friends in the process. I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences with all of you throughout the upcoming year, and I hope that you are able to find your home here at the College of Design.

If you would like to stay up-to-date on this blog, check back regularly at

Graphic Design

At last!

I'm Karly, and for the last 13 years I've been a Minnesotan. The University of Minnesota was a natural choice for this very reason. Minnesota is a great place to be! There are many things you can do here from swimming in 10,000 lakes and playing in the snow (don't worry, it's not here yet), to going to Twins games and shopping at the Mall of America. I also chose the U of M because of their Housing Studies major.

When I'm not keeping to my studies, I like to sing, play guitar, and make my own earrings. I also love spending time with family, even if it's just a silly run to the thrift store with my sister. I'm interested in volunteering as well. I enjoy helping those with fewer resources. And in looking ahead in life, I'm particularly interested in bettering the situation for those transitioning from homelessness to low-income housing. This is why I chose housing studies.


I will be blogging throughout the year about my academic adventures here at the U, so feel free and add to your bookmarks!

Stay sharp :)
-Karly, Housing Studies B.S.

And So It Begins!

Hi Everyone!

I'm Katie, and I'm so excited to be sharing my experience as a Retail Merchandising student at the U throughout the year with all of you!

Let me start off with some quick background info about myself.

Hometown: Eau Claire, WI (go packers)
Year in School: Senior
Job: Student worker at the College of Design Student Services
Career Goal: Working as a buyer for Nordstrom
Hobbies: Drinking coffee first thing in the morning, beating my dad in our daughter/father tennis showdowns, eating Buncha Crunch at the movies, major league baseball games, quality time with my amazing older sisters, and busting out my best Beyonce moves.
Why I chose the U of M: To experience the big city culture, work towards my dream of working in the fashion industry, and to push myself out of my personal comfort zone.

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Be sure to check back in with me throughout the year. I'll be blogging about internships, where to get the best burger on campus, making new friends, and everything in between!

p.s. this link makes it super easy to bookmark my blog!

Until next time,
Katie Sprick
Retail Merchandising

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cheese Curds & Landscape Architecture

Hello everyone! My name is Theresa and I love cheese curds. I am delighted to be the blogger for the Landscape Design and Planning major here at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Check back frequently to to read my updates all year about my experience as a student in Landscape Architecture and at the U. This is my third semester on the planning track and I could not be more thrilled to be back. I chose the U for its great location in the Twin Cities (close to my home in Wisconsin), the technology, class size, knowledgeable professors, and the opportunity to join a vast array of clubs here on campus. Last year I took a variety of classes, from landscaping to acting to the history of King Arthur, went on a Spring Break trip with the student group Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF) to Dallas, and joined Greek Life here on campus by becoming a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. I had such a great time last year, I can't wait for this year and those to come. I'm still unsure of what I want to do after graduating, but as of now I think I want to work on city parks and other things of the sort.
Until next time!


A few of my STLF friends and I working on a tree farm in Dallas, TX.

Landscape Design & Planning

Monday, September 2, 2013

Right Back At It

Thumbnail image for IMG_3567 (1).jpgJust like that, summer is over and without missing a beat we're right back at it with the first day of classes among us. Every summer I get anxious as August nears its end because I feel like I've forgotten how to be a student, but every time the first day of school strikes in the beginning of September, I hit my stride again. I find that as I progress in my program, school days feel more like work days because our projects and topics of study become more realistic and reminiscent of the real world. Through my internship this summer I got a real good sense of the real design world so I've come to know what it looks like and I am recognizing it more and more in the curriculum.

This summer I worked full time as an Interior Design Intern at Cuningham Group, an architecture firm located in Minneapolis. It was a rewarding, eye opening, and lesson learning experience that I am so glad to have under my belt. The knowledge I took and will continue to take from that internship are directly applicable to life and school and I feel like I got a crash course on what my life could be. Throughout the summer I was able to work on several projects as well as familiarize myself with products, materials, and finishes through my work in their library. Internships are not just important, but quintessential for success and I'm happy to say I'll be continuing my internship with them into the school year. If you'd like to learn more about how I landed my internship, check out my blog post on it here.

I'm involved in a lot including Interior Design Student Association where I am the Vice President, Cuningham as an Intern, and the College of Design Student Services as an Events and Communications Office Assistant as well as a Blogger. As the semester goes on, I hope to keep you informed and updated on my coursework, internship, community involvement and life in general. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!


Ashley Ochiagha
Interior Design

P.S. It was so fun meeting many of my readers throughout the summer at events like Sneak Preview! I hope to see you all in the future - don't be a stranger!