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College of Design

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Hello all! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed the break as much as I did! Now it is time to crack down into the few final weeks of the semester.

Classes are the most important part of college, but I've always had a firm belief that being a well-rounded college student is equally as important. Being involved and making connections is something that goes beyond the classroom and is essential during one's college years, and most definitely after. In the Design World, connections are very important and are often a key element when it comes to landing a job or an internship. Therefore, it is necessary to make these connections while still in school. Look no further than the College of Design's Design Student and Alumni Board.

The Design Student and Alumni Board (DSAB) hosts a few events throughout the year and provides an opportunity to meet with alumni or design firms around the Twin Cities metro area. These events allow students to speak one-on-one to firms and receive feedback on their portfolio or resume. Another great program that DSAB holds is the Mentorship program. This program is one of the largest mentorship programs at the U of M, even though the College of Design is one of the smallest colleges. The mentorship program is absolutely fantastic. It connects one student and one professional based on the interests of the student. I have interests in sustainability and travel, therefore my past two mentors have had similar interests. The mentors come from a number of firms scattered around the cities, some large, some small.

From November to April mentees and mentors communicate via email, phone, or in person at least once a month. I usually just met my mentor for coffee and we attended some of the events or lectures hosted by the College of Design. I also went on a firm tour, which is a really neat experience in a one-on-one, casual setting. It was cool to see the environments of my mentors--an architect and a house designer. I believe DSAB's Mentorship program is one of the best experiences I've had. One can learn a lot from someone who shares the same passions as you, and have gone through the same things you have. We could all use advice on how to structure our portfolio, or whether or not we go to graduate school right away. It means a lot coming from a professional who is interested in your well being and has taken time out of his or her schedule to answer your (many, many) questions. Such a great experience!

Check out more photos from the College of Design here.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Getting Home for the Holidays

The holidays are here and it has been a busy long weekend of friends, family, and food! I know some students come to the University of Minnesota from far distances and I thought I'd share some tips on getting home from college for the holidays or just a weekend.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.59.25 AM.pngSometimes getting off campus and going home is just the break you need to get away from school to-dos or just to get some home-cooked meals. The U of M has a service called Zimride, which is a ride-sharing service for U of M students. To the right is a map from the Zimride website showing the different rides and destinations available. I personally haven't used it because I grew up close to the U of M and usually can be picked up, or I hear of rides by word of mouth (another common way to get rides home). But if you're struggling to find a ride, or you're driving and want some people to pitch in for gas, it's a great service to check out!

I also know of some people who use the Megabus to get back home. If you haven't heard of it, it's a bus system that goes to many different destinations and tickets can be secured for very good prices. So be sure to check that one out, too.

Hopefully these tips can help people planning their rides back home for winter break. Only a couple more weeks!

Interior Design

Friday, November 28, 2014

What are you thankful for?


Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I spent a lot of time with my friends and family. I found myself periodically thinking about what I was thankful for and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts with you all.

I'm thankful to have the opportunity to receive an excellent education from the University of Minnesota.

I'm thankful that my family lives close to campus and I can visit regularly.

I'm thankful for my adviser, Katrina -- she's awesome!!

I'm thankful for the diversity that surrounds me. Both on campus and in the city, diversity in multiple senses: racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural.

I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had while attending the U of M. I've had the chance to meet amazing friends, join extraordinary student groups, be taught by outstanding professors, and (next year) study out-of-state!

I'm thankful for the support that the university offers. Whether it be your residence hall Community Adviser, your academic adviser, or other resources found on campus. Also, a big shout out to the technology support team - they have helped me out multiple times! A handful of these resources can be found here.

Now it's your turn. What are you thankful for?

Style on,
Retail Merchandising

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bachelor of Environmental Design Open House

Last Thursday, there was an open house for Bachelor of Environmental Design (BED) students, Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) students, and College of Design faculty and alumni to discuss the work of LA 3001 Understanding and Creating Landscape Space in LA 3001 studio.

The models were admired and critiqued at the open house event and the current curriculum of the BED was discussed by all who attended. Current students and graduate students were put into groups with faculty and alumni. The groups discussed landscape in general, work done in 3001, and the general curriculum of the BED program. It was a great opportunity to meet professionals and fellow classmates to discuss and learn more about the field and journey we're embarking on. These opportunities to network are really special and ones you should take advantage of in college!


Landscape Design and Planning

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Bonjour! I'm writing this blog in Paris right now. I'm currently on break from school for a week, so I decided to take a trip to Paris for a couple of days. London is so close, so might as well. This last week my classmates and I handed in three major projects, so this break is much needed. Hopefully after this break, I'll be refreshed and ready to take on my last major class for the semester.

From my experience studying abroad so far, I have learned so much. The information and way of learning that they teach here has definitely elevated me as a designer. If you have a slight thought that you would like to study abroad, I would highly recommend it! Not only do you learn skills in your major to supplement your home university's teaching, but you also learn to become much more independent and self sufficient as a person. I can already tell that I've grown so much as person. I've attained new life skills that will definitely benefit me in the future. You'll learn problem solving skills and social skills, which you can take with you as you enter the workforce, and it also gives you interesting things to talk about when you interview for jobs.

Here are some pictures of Paris in my first day so far.

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Go to to follow my blog and keep up with my life studying here in London. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics from Paris.

Until next time, I'll bid you adieu!

Apparel Design

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dirty Laundry

Hello Everyone!
dirty laundry
I know I've written about a lot of events lately, but there have just been so many to attend! Last night I went to another event hosted by the Design Student and Alumni Board. Dirty Laundry hosted Ben VandenWymelenberg from Woodchuck USA and Colleen Carey of the Cornerstone Group.

Now incredibly successful, Ben and Colleen discussed some of their "bumps, hurdles, and crashes along the way," of which both agreed there were too many to count. Colleen even went as far as to say she probably had one bad idea every day in her 30 years of business! That being said, they both also spoke about the importance of making mistakes.

The big takeaway from Ben's anecdotes was that problems and challenges are opportunities. Colleen agreed that mistakes prove to be significant learning experiences. When you view mistakes less as failures and more as opportunities, you can move past them faster and provide opportunities for growth and improvement. You will fail sometimes, but that's okay.

Finally, during a night in which business and design horror stories were being traded, Colleen added that though failures and mistakes are both constant and inevitable, you still need to be an optimist to succeed. If you focus on the negative, you will never do anything, so here's to looking at that glass half full!

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Hello, everyone!

These past weeks in Minnesota have been a snowy few. However, the snow doesn't stop classes or events from being held. I want to take this blog post to share a little about my favorite student group on campus: FAB. Sounds FAB-ulous, right?

FAB stands for Fashion and Business. I first learned about this group when I was a sophomore and was having a difficult time getting involved on campus. My Center for Academic Planning and Exploration, or CAPE, coach recommended that I join FAB to meet and connect with other students interested in the opportunities that the fashion world has to offer. This group isn't specific to retail merchandising majors. The main thing that FAB members have in common is their passion for fashion and the endless opportunities the industry has to offer.

FAB holds many great events throughout the semester. Recently, they held an interview workshop that I found very helpful. They've also held tours of local Minneapolis boutiques, behind-the-scenes Mall of America tours, and other experiences that I would have never been able to have if I wasn't a part of FAB!

If you want to get involved around campus and are interested in fashion and business, I would highly suggest joining FAB! To learn more, check out its Facebook page!

I have my calendar marked for FAB's most recent event that will be taking place on Tuesday!


Style On,
Retail Merchandising

The Snow is Falling!

It has begun...the snow is falling and we can now say that winter is here. Some of us have grown up in Minnesota and snowy places like this, and others students are coming from places in which they have never encountered snow before. Either way, the U of M has some tricks up its sleeve for avoiding the cold and hopefully I can help you stay warm by sharing them!


First we have the campus buses. I've mentioned how convenient they are in previous posts and I can't emphasize it enough--the buses are lifesavers! Not only can you get on the Campus Connector to go to the St. Paul campus, but there are Campus Circulators that are perfect for getting you shorter distances. The East Bank Circulator and St. Paul Circulator travel throughout campus, the Washington Avenue Bridge Circulator goes between East and West Banks, and the Weekend Circulator runs until 2 am to safely get you around campus on the weekends. These buses are so convenient and easy to use, and can really save you on colder days.

Second is the Gopher Way. Totally underestimated and unknown by many, the Gopher Way is a series of tunnels and paths that students can use to get around campus indoors without having to face the elements. There's an online map and PDF that offers information and shows exactly where the tunnels and paths are on all three campuses. You can get you pretty far without having to go outside. Take a look so you can start taking advantage of it!

Apart from the obvious solution of bundling up against the cold, I seriously recommend exploring these great options for getting around campus in the winter!

Stay warm!
Interior Design

The Designed Environment.

Hello Readers,

If you have been keeping up with our Instagram you may have seen I've been on a few field trips around Minneapolis this semester. Visiting local examples of what you are studying in your courses is incredibly beneficial.

One of the reasons I feel the College of Design at the U of M is a great place to study architecture is because of the cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul. The architecture here is great, and one doesn't need to travel far to get in-person experiences. Through a few of my travels, and going on these field trips, I've learned that seeing and experiencing a building or place is quite different than studying it from a textbook. It's important to be able to relate local examples to other places one may be studying.

It's also essential to dive into the local design and become very familiar with your surroundings. I'm from a small town, so downtown Minneapolis is always a new learning experience. Last week, my class and I visited a few of the skyways within the extensive skyway system in downtown Minneapolis. This was all new to me, and I couldn't make sense of the map. It was interesting to visit the skyways, which are a rather unique element to a large city, and experience how they influence the culture of the downtown district.



Thursday, November 13, 2014


Snow! Snow seems to bring mixed emotions to many people. I find it exciting. Yes, it brings extra work and cold temps, but it creates a completely different mood and world. If anyone understands the added work it brings, it would be me.

I work for a landscape company that does snow removal in the winter and have spent plenty of sleepless nights plowing and shoveling. However, the white snow brings out every color and makes a sunny wintery day brighter than mid July.

Also, campus becomes a completely different place: roller blades are replaced with cross country skis, hockey and basketball become prevalent again, and everything is covered in snow. Bikers fall because they think they can still bike, and folks waiting for the campus buses--the Campus Connector and Campus Circulator--become covered in a breath-made cloud. Maybe the snow is just a sign that the holidays are right around the corner. I find it refreshing!

A snowy scene from around campus:


Some more inspiring winter images:

Landscape Design and Planning

Friday, November 7, 2014

Caution: Graphic Content Ahead

Hello Everyone!

Last night I attended the Caution: Graphic Content Ahead event put on by the Design Student and Alumni Board (DSAB) and it was phenomenal!


The DSAB brought in a panel of younger designers to talk about their experiences when transitioning from college to career. With this being a source of one my biggest anxieties (along with a lot of other Juniors/Seniors), it was fantastic to hear each of their stories.

The panel was made up of:

Stacia Burtis, Designer at Zeus Jones
U of M '13 -- Graphic Design

Laura Anderson, Designer at Persicope
U of M '10 -- Graphic Design

Ashley Hohnstein, Associate Art Director/Designer at Target
UW-Stout '13 -- Graphic Design

Rett Martin, Digital Associate Creative Director at Target
U of M '04 -- Graphic Design

Drew Covi, UIX Design & Developer at Honeywell
U of M -- Graphic Design

Paul Derby, UX Designer, Honeywell
Texas Tech -- Psychology

A few pieces of advice I found particularly helpful were:

-- Connect with people on social media, especially Twitter. Follow agencies you're interested in and make sure the link to your website/portfolio is in your bio.

-- Informational interviews and networking are everything. Attend and volunteer at American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) events. Be a face people start recognizing.

-- Invest time in personal projects, startups, freelance, etc. It can fill out a portfolio, it's something that will set you apart from other designers, and it shows you have initiative.

-- Finally, don't stress about finding the perfect job. Find a job you think you could enjoy (for at least a year), try something new, connect with people, and learn a lot.

Until next time,

Graphic Design

Monday, November 3, 2014

Don't Watch Life, Live It

I hope that everyone had a great Halloween weekend! I celebrated it here in London with some of my classmates. It was a fun experience to see how Londoners celebrate Halloween. It is not the same as in the states, but was still fun. Halloween here is apparently not that big, but the people who do celebrate it definitely get dressed up.

I also went to the city of Bath. It was such a beautiful city for a day trip destination. The buildings and scenery in Bath were gorgeous and somehow created a warm filter that felt like a sunset the whole time. It definitely had a much more relaxed vibe than London.

I'm not going to lie, but I did sacrifice getting work done in order to take the day trip to Bath. I do think the experience was worth the upcoming late nights that I'll be having to catch up though. I'm not encouraging putting off your homework and enduring sleep deprivation, but I do encourage you to take every opportunity to try and experience new things. College is definitely about learning through classes and homework, but it is also learning through experiences as well. This is the time where most people have their greatest growth as a person, so if an opportunity comes, don't let it pass you by. The study abroad program here demands a lot and has high expectations, but I knew that if I solely concentrated on my homework, I would be missing out on the amazing things here in England. How often am I going to get this opportunity to be able to travel so easily to places I've never been?

Here are some pictures from Bath.
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Remember, I'm not encouraging you to put off your homework, but I'm merely saying don't let the world and life pass you by.

Go to to follow my blog and keep up with my life studying here in London. Also, make sure to check out the UMNDesign Instagram to see more of my pics.

Apparel Design

Sunday, November 2, 2014

So you like design...but what else?

Happy November everyone!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have a lot of interest in sustainability, which has lead me to include sustainability in my studies here at the U of M. So let's talk about minors!

I decided to make Sustainability Studies my minor at the end of my first year here. Being an architecture student, I have a lot of interest in green building design, efficient systems, and material studies. So it made sense to pair the Sustainability Studies minor with my architecture degree. In fact, many other architecture students feel the same way, since architecture represents the most common major within the minor.

Minors provide a great opportunity to fulfill other interests that you may have, without taking on another major. They also work out pretty well to fulfill any upper division courses outside your major that you need to graduate. Most minors are around 15+ credits. For Sustainability Studies, there are two core courses, and three elective courses. There's a large range of courses, even an architecture course (!), that you can take to knock out the elective courses. It's really a lot of fun to be able to expand your education and meet people who aren't typically in your design courses.

I'm currently taking the Sustainability Studies capstone course, or the final required course for the minor. It's really interesting because we are paired with cities around the metro area to assist in their sustainability action plans. Being able to work with real cities, rather than a fictional city, and have a real impact has been a cool experience. We will be showcasing our work to community members at the Sustainability Fair later this month.


So remember, don't feel the need to focus on only one interest if you have many! Your first year is the time to try new things!


Concrete Jungle - New York City

Hello again!

Today I come bearing some exciting news about plans that I have in store for Fall 2015 -- I'm going to New York!!

How it all started:
Last year I was browsing through Katie's blog posts (she was the Retail Merchandising student blogger before me) and saw her post about her semester studying in New York City. I was immediately intrigued and contacted her asking about her experience.

What I did next:
I followed up with my adviser, Katrina, and she gave me further information regarding the partnership that the University of Minnesota College of Design has with The Fashion School at Kent State University's New York Studio. This program is typically a semester long.

What I'm doing now:
I just recently got my acceptance letter into the program -- yay! Now, I have to fill out a series of confirmation paperwork and start apartment hunting for my semester stay.

What I'm planning on doing in New York City:
I plan on completing about 15 credits at Kent State's Fashion Studio in addition to completing my internships. I also plan to live like a New Yorker to the best of my ability. This will be a once in a lifetime experience and I want to make the most of it!

I will keep you updated on my journey as the year continues. Please ask me questions if you're interested in the program or would like to know more about my process. I know that if I didn't ask Katie questions I would never be in the position that I'm in today!


Style On,
Retail Merchandising

Afternoon Trip to Ft. Snelling State Park

Today I took a trip to Fort Snelling State Park, located along the Mississippi River in the heart of the Twin Cities--just another example of how unique the Twin Cities metropolitan location is.

The park, named after an old military camp used to control transportation on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, is filled with amazing walking paths, bike paths, and skiing and hiking trails. Other activities include, canoeing, swimming, fishing, bird watching, and so much more. The park itself is hundreds of acres, and after factoring in other adjacent parks, you have access to thousands of acres of river and forest land to explore. Just in one trip I saw deer, beavers, ducks, and a fox.

I recommend a trip to the state park because you get to enjoy some beautiful nature and learn about a piece of Twin Cities history. Just remember to bring a camera!

Landscape Design and Planning





So Busy!

It's post-midterms and things are really starting to get busy around the U of M. There's this project and that project, this exam and that paper, and it can be a lot as we get closer and closer to the end of the semester. The work can add up and it's important that we don't let it get the best of us!
There are so many ways to manage all these to-dos and the stress that comes with them. Boynton Health Service hosts a Cirque De-Stress event focused on giving students a break from the stress of the semester and an opportunity to have some fun. It's a free event at Coffman Memorial Union that features aerialists, high-wire walkers, clowns, jugglers, and more. It's a great way to get away from the stress for a little while!

Other ways to manage stress include an efficient use of time and helping your mind get away from it all. I've found that a great way is to get together with classmates to work on projects. They understand the stress because they are going through it too, and it can help make getting all the work done a little more manageable and pleasant.

The most important thing to remember through this stressful time of the semester is that it will end, we will survive and make it to winter break, and you can do it!

Interior Design