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College of Design

Monday, November 30, 2015

Finding Your Balance

With a little less than a month until our senior show, things are really starting to ramp up. While we've all been insanely busy, working hard on our thesis exhibitions and portfolios, it is important that we remember to find a balance between all of the work and having some down time. With so much to do and deadlines looming it can be difficult to step away, even if just for a bit. However, doing so can make a real difference in not only your productivity and quality of work, but also your mental health. So this weekend I decided to do just that and had a great time relaxing around a bonfire with friends. Now that I have given myself a break, I’m refreshed and ready to tackle the homestretch!

Other great ways to take a break (while still feeling productive) are attending some of CDes’ fantastic events such as DirtyLaundry, Sketch Off, and Design 7 in 7.

If de-stressing stresses you out like it does me, when you’re planning out assignments and commitments, just remember to schedule in some downtime as well. Time management includes more than just managing school and work, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself as well.

Until next time,


Graphic Design

Friday, November 20, 2015

Environmental Design Project

Hey Everyone!

These past couple of weeks have been busy filled with midterm exams and reviews. In my environmental design class, ARCH 3711W, we had our interim project reviews this past week where we present our observational findings and results. For this project we were asked to conduct a comparative analysis of two sites in the Twin Cities; my partner and I are looking at the Minnesota History Center and the Science Museum of Minnesota. 

The lobby of the Science Museum
Side entrance at the History Center
Both of these museums are located in St. Paul and are very interesting, yet different buildings. It has been fascinating to research and learn more about each museum. For our research, we visit and conduct site observations looking at general movement through the building. We also take note of the spatial hierarchy, materiality, lighting, and how the site fits into the larger St. Paul area. This project, as well as many in my other classes, are great because they allow us to explore the Minneapolis and St. Paul area and get a better understanding of the city we live in. You can check out some of my other photos from my trips to the museums on our Instagram account. 

Landscape Design and Planning

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Get Involved!

Hi everyone!

Hopefully all is going well and everyone is hanging in there as the semester continues on. I want to start off with some great news, my lamp that I posted about previously actually was the class winner! It went to a trade show in North Carolina and received the popular vote! Now it goes on to compete against the winners at other schools which will take place sometime next semester. I put another photo of it in this post because I'm so proud!

Other than that, I wanted to make this post about involvement. This semester in the program is a really tough one and it's hard to find time but there are also a lot of opportunities for networking and meeting professionals that I'm trying my best to stay involved in. I really recommend students become involved in whatever they can starting freshman year!

There are two major organizations I will talk about that I think students should be involved in, ASID and IIDA. They are both interior design associations that students can join (at a discounted price, may I add!) that hold various events and forums throughout the year that students can attend and network at. Bonus: there's always good food. This semester I'm doing a mentorship program though IIDA called INSIGHT. It's a cool program that connects a student with a professional to bond with over the course of the school year and potentially longer should you decide to stay in touch. I met my mentor at a kickoff event a couple weeks ago and she's a great resource for me! Look for my upcoming post, I will be sharing another mentorship kickoff event that takes place through the College of Design. This one requires you to be at least a junior but when the time comes, I suggest you take advantage of the opportunity to be set up with a mentor!

Within the U of M, there is also IDSA (Interior Design Student Association). This group hosts monthly meetings that consist of a variety of activities (bowling, resume/portfolio review, and so many more). These events are great because they are usually very conveniently located and it's not only a great way to potentially connect with professionals but also to connect with students outside of just your own class.

I could write a huge list of all the different kind of events that these kinds of organizations host but that would take a long time so I suggest getting it straight from the source and taking a look at the calendars, keep an eye out and an ear open for events, and take advantage of the opportunities! You never know who you'll meet or what that connection will do for you in the future.

Be bold and get out there!
Interior Design

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Time is Flying By

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween. This has definitely been a beautiful fall that we’ve been experiencing so far, but where has the time gone?! It’s already November! That means we have around 7 weeks left of the semester, and soon registration for the next semester will be open. The rest of the semester will probably be a whirlwind and it will still feel like my senior year just started.

Test Garments
To give you an update from my last post, I completed my test garments for my presentation.  I felt that it went well, and I got some great feedback from the faculty. Now I will begin construction on my final garments. I’ll probably have many fittings, many mistakes, and lots of adjustments before I fully complete the garments. For the rest of my semester, I’ll be busy with the fittings, construction, and adjustments! In the end, I know that it will be worth it. The satisfaction of seeing your designs come to life has to be one of the best things about being a designer.

I also want to mention that we will be finalizing the theme and look for our senior fashion show, Identity. The graphic designers have been working really hard to produce some wonderful options, so it’s going to be hard to choose just one. Be on the lookout for it!

Make sure to follow my blog at to keep up to date on all that is about to happen this semester. Also, follow our Instagram to see some more pics

Apparel Design

Friday, November 13, 2015

Making Progress

Hello everyone!

With such a busy semester finishing up my portfolio and senior thesis project, it has flown by faster than any other so far! However, I definitely feel like I'm making some pretty great progress with the two. 

I've talked a little bit about what's going on in my Portfolio class, but up until this point I've left thesis to be a bit of mystery. That was mostly because up until recently it had been a mystery to me as well! However, this past week we had our midterm critiques on our concepts, topics, and deliverables for our projects that will be a part of our senior show in Rapson on December 9th. Coming out of that critique I now have a very solid concept and project that I am excited to move forward with. 

I spent last semester researching and writing about the Minnesotan Identity and am now working on creating an exhibition centered around that topic.

I came up with the idea to begin the “MN Love Letter Project” in which I have sent 100+ blank postcards to people from all over Minnesota to solicit their "love letters to MN." Upon receiving their responses, I plan to design the front of each of the postcards received based on the stories written on the back. I will then display the final postcards in the exhibition space come December. If you’re interested in learning more about the project or would like to contribute, visit

Until next time,

Graphic Design 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Retail Connect 2015!

Hello, everyone!

Hope you all had a great end to October…can’t believe it is November already!

On October 28th, the College of Design hosted this year’s Retail Connect event. It was an amazing opportunity to hear from retail leaders in our community and how they are striving to become more purpose-driven businesses. It was also a great chance to speak with the Retail Merchandising faculty here at the University of Minnesota.

The two keynote speakers were Amanda Nusz and Nadine Steklenski. Both are employees of Target and spent the majority of their speech talking about Generation Z and how they have significantly different consumer behaviors from previous generations.

Amanda Nusz showed a quick clip of Kid President, and explained that this desire to have a significant impact on the world, extreme positivity, and humorous attitude is something that is prevalent with Gen Z. I think Kid President is hilarious…everyone should follow him on Instagram! You definitely won’t regret it!

Working at a children’s boutique aimed at the next generation, there were some amazing tips on how to create a more purpose-driven business and better understand the want and needs of Gen Z! Target has some amazing programs set up to showcase their evolving strategy to understand their consumers better.



Monday, November 9, 2015

Freedom by Design

Hey designers,

We've just passed the midterm! It's crazy how fast this semester has been going, and it's my last year! I'll admit I've been so busy, and that always assists in the time passing quickly. I keep myself busy with a job, studio projects, student groups, and of course with friends. 

I have been in a few different student groups during my years on campus, and I always find them really rewarding. I have mostly been engaged with new, international, sustainable, or architecture students. Being in groups outside of architecture has been nice because I am able to meet students from different areas of study. However, this year, I decided to join (with a big push from my friends) Freedom By Design. You can check out their website here. It has been a really great experience so far. I get to do some of my favourite things for a great reason -talk architecture and design, see friends, and do creative thinking, all to help others. Not to mention the free bagels!

We are just finishing up a project for Autism Awareness where we built canvases to be sent to schools for children to paint on before having them passed to different schools for a final exhibition in April. It was cool to get hands on and build something at a larger scale than a model. Many of the other projects are building at an even larger scale than canvases, which is really great experience. The next project we will be working on is a musical playground. 


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Choosing a Minor

Hey everyone,

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am minoring in horticulture. This means that I take 18 credits of classes that are related to horticultural science. This semester I am taking two classes that fulfill these requirements for my minor. One class is a lab that looks into the production of plants. A portion of this class is working in the greenhouse growing different plants. The other class discusses ecological restoration, which involves design and management of restoration projects.
Gladiolus seedlings from my Plant Productions lab

Having this minor in horticulture allows me to take classes that let me explore my interest in plant science as well as providing supplemental information that applies to my major in landscape design and planning. The University, and the College of Design specifically, has a variety of minors available. When deciding on whether or not to have a minor or what minor to choose, I found there were two factors that influenced my decision:
1.     Pick a minor that you are interested in and want to learn more about. I have always loved plants and learning about their different functions in the environment and landscape.
2.     Choose a minor that relates to your major. This can be an opportunity to explore other subjects that collaborate with your field of study.

Having a minor can be a nice resume booster that can help you stand apart from others in your field as well as letting you explore something that really interests you. 

Landscape Design and Planning

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lighting Design Project

Hi everybody!

This past month or so in my IDES 3612 class (lighting design) we have been working on designing light fixtures for a Dallas company that challenged us with thinking of designs for a light fixture. Well now the project is complete and we've sent off our designs to North Carolina to be put in a trade show! People will vote and there will be a winning light fixture that will be produced and sold.
I've included some pictures of mine and a couple other students' lights to show you what we came up with. It was a really fun project and definitely something that I was a little hesitant about being able to do, but it turns out that I produced a product that I really like! I think a lot of people were really proud of the lamps they produced and thought that they would be really cool to have!

Now that that project is complete, we are starting a new project where we do the lighting plan for a retail store in an airport. We were all assigned different companies and different airports around the world for our stores to be placed. So right now we are working on the research of the companies and the airports.

As for studio, we're still working hard on our office design project. We just turned in a big part of our project, the research binder, and are now figuring out space planning. Its crazy that we're already halfway through the semester! There's a ton going on but things are definitely flying by.

See you next time!
Interior Design