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College of Design

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hidden connections with Hidden Figures

In my apparel studio, ADes 3224W, we are partnering with NASA and working on creating wearable garments that address various problems. My group is working on making socks for astronauts that prevent the formation of calluses. In April we are going on a class trip to Houston to the Johnson Space Center to present our solutions. (Look out for a blog post on this trip coming soon!)

To have some context about the work NASA does, our class went to see the movie "Hidden Figures" together. Hidden Figures is about African American women, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, the human computers of NASA that were vital to the early work of the US space program.

(Photo courtesy of google images)

Recently, Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of the book "Hidden Figures," came to speak as part of the Distinguished Carlson Lecture series. Shetterly talked about all of us having a responsibility to tell our stories, and to tell the stories of others so that these important people don’t become hidden figures. This really resonated with me. I am in a really unique position as a CDes blogger to be able to tell the stories of the apparel program. It’s cool to be able to connect my course work to outside events and even my job as a blogger.

(Photo courtesy of CDes Instagram)

To find more information about the Distinguished Carlson Lecture series click here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Exploring the Minnesota River

Hey everyone!

This past week we started our new project in studio that I am pretty excited to begin. For this project, we are asked to analyze the site through the lens of an artist. The artist whom I was given, Dennis Oppenheim, was really interested in going about his art in a sensory approach. He wanted to engage all five of his senses when thinking about his work. With this in mind, we went to observe the site. It is located in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge along the Minnesota River in Burnsville, MN, which is south of the Twin Cities. This unusually warm February weather made the site visit perfect. It was such a beautiful and sunny day to be along the river.

Once there, I began to engage and take note of different times and locations where my certain senses were stimulated. I also noted locations where my attention was suddenly changed from one sense to another. Observing my surroundings in this way was very intriguing and allowed me to see and investigate things that I wouldn’t have noticed. For example, I was able to listen and hear the many birds along the river, the wind blowing through the grasses and even an airplane flying by. The next steps of the project will be very interesting, and I am intrigued as to where this information will lead me.

Hope you all are enjoying the nice weather too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tap Handle Making

Hey all!

This past semester I had the pleasure of taking Product Form and Model Making, a class that is required for the Product Design major.  I had so much fun getting to build prototypes throughout the class, ending with creating a beer tap handle for the company Dangerous Man. Three local breweries worked with us to help us learn the importance of designing for a client. This experience was amazing to say the least.

Three of my good friends and I were all assigned to different breweries, so we went to go scope out the "vibe" that we got from each place. This is what was so cool about this experience. I never thought that designing for something such as a tap handle would have such intense thought that went into it. Putting myself in the eye of the customer, in the eye of the bartender, and in the eye of the owner all at once was not an easy task. Let alone coming up with something that would fit the aesthetic of the brewery.

Who would know that this task would end up being not only one of the most difficult design challenges I've ever had, but also my favorite?  The iteration process and selection of ideas to move forward with, which happened throughout our tap handle creation, is something I will never forget.

Until Next Time,

I'll see you designers at home (Rapson),

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Best Homework Assignment

Hello again!

The semester continues on, and with it does designing the HCMC North Loop Clinic. We're in the schematic phase now, which includes space planning and creating different layout options that meet the needs of the existing space and client.

I'm sure anyone in Minnesota noticed the amazing weather we've had this past weekend, especially considering it's only February. For those that aren't in Minnesota, we had an abnormally warm February weekend that got into the 60-degree range! With it, I got the best homework assignment — spend time outside and enjoy the weather! The goal was to find additional inspiration for our projects, but I'll take any excuse to get out and spend time outside in the great weather!

This week on the UMN Design Instagram, I posted a picture from my outdoors exploration that fit the concept for my clinic design. I love the look of this bridge and the diagonal lines the steel beams make and the wooden walkway going over the Mississippi. I'm hoping to translate those diagonal lines and also the contrast of the steel, industrial bridge with the nature of the Mississippi into my design for the clinic.

I hope everyone was able to enjoy the nice weather this weekend! In studio we will be working on the schematic phase of our project for a couple more weeks and will be presenting our ideas in early March; following that we will be beginning the design development phase of the project. Every day is getting closer to graduation!!!

Until next time,
Interior Design

Monday, February 20, 2017


On Wednesday nights, I have Orientation Leader training in Coffman until 7:30. After class, all of the OL’s head down to Goldy’s Game Room together for a few games of Bingo. It’s my favorite way to relax during the week. They have awesome prizes and play great music. (FYI, when more than one person gets a Bingo, the tie breaker is almost always a trivia question about the music.) A couple of my friends won some pretty cool pillows a while back. I’ve yet to win anything, but I’m determined, so I still play (but if we’re being honest I only use bingo as an excuse to eat mozzarella sticks every week. Shhh!)

It took me a while to get the hang of the cheers everyone does when certain numbers are called. For example, when B4 is called everyone replies “AND AFTER!” I think I’ve got them all now, and I’m pretty proud of myself. SUA hosts Bingo every Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Goldy’s Gameroom, in Coffman. It’s free and open to everyone.

Until next time,

Friday, February 17, 2017

Internship Abroad Interview

Hello hello!

For this week's blog post, I decided to interview one of my close friends who had the opportunity to intern at Johnny Drama while we were in London last semester.
Where she went to work everyday!

Q: What exactly is Johnny Drama?
A: Johnny Drama is a fashion wholesaler, which basically means that they act as a medium between large international brands like Jovani, Scala, and Talbot runoff and smaller retailers across the United Kingdom.

Q: What did a typical day look like for you?
A: I would check in with the brand managers, help them correspond with buyers, track and record inventory, and deliver dresses and assist at photo-shoots. I answered a lot of e-mails, phone calls, and other general administrative work.

Q: What is your favorite memory from this experience?
A: On my last day all my co-workers and I hung out and had refreshments. They let me pick whichever gorgeous evening gown I wanted to take home with me! It was great to reminisce with them all about the semester.

Q: Overall, are you happy you did this?
A: Absolutely, yeah. It was a really interesting and unique way to experience a different culture and to learn about the fashion industry in another culture. Definitely an experience I'll cherish for a long time!

As you can see, her experience was seriously amazing and quite the resume-booster. Definitely something you should all consider doing during your undergrad! Click here for a list of study abroad internship opportunities you can take advantage of!

Have a good week,

Retail Merchandising

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Play Test

As a graphic design student, I don’t have a lot of experience with play testing. Usually, my schoolwork is critically evaluated by my peers, who will look at what I’ve made and give me feedback. It’s a very hands-off critique based on observation, and I like that! It’s what I’m used to by now after completing nearly all of the courses in the graphic design program. But this semester, things are a little different when it comes to my senior exhibition piece.

For my final project of my undergraduate career, I’m writing and designing a game that will be available to play at the graphic design senior showcase. It’s been a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work, bringing this game to life. It also involves a lot of coding... much more than I'm used to!

So much code.
Another part of this process that I hadn’t really considered at the start of the semester was play testing—having my classmates sit down and play my game in its rough stages to see how they navigate the program, while I sit to the side, watch, and take notes.

Like I mentioned earlier, normally in critiques people will just look at my work and talk about it. Play testing, though, involves actual player interaction. During my first round of play testing, I watched as my classmates made choices and read dialogue and navigated the user interface…and it was a lot more embarrassing than I thought it would be, honestly! I’m not used to having people interact with my designs this much, and it felt a lot more personal to see my classmates playing this game I had spent so much time creating (especially because it’s still a very rough design). Not only that, but the feedback I’ve gotten involves much more than the aesthetics of the game—I’m learning about how to fix the code and the written script of the game as well. There are a lot of facets to this project that I haven’t had in other projects before…which is intimidating, but also really fun! It’s awesome to take ownership of something and make it truly your own—but I definitely couldn’t do it all without the helpful insights that my classmates have to offer.

Until next time!


Graphic Design

Friday, February 10, 2017

Time Management Mastery

Hello everybody!

Spring semester is in full swing. It's already February and time just seems to be flying by. One of the things I'm trying to work on this semester is my time management skills. I've always been pretty good at this, but there's always room to improve (I'm definitely not immune to procrastination). I'm taking on a lot this semester with new clubs, more leadership, and more challenging classes. The amount of things we as college students want to do with our time doesn't always correlate to how much time we really have to spare. Fortunately, there are a few things we can all do to make the most of our collegiate undergrad experience!

1. Plan your week on Sunday night. It's really helpful to be able to look at your week as a whole and understand what needs to be done. I always go through my class syllabuses and extra curricular schedules each week to make sure I have everything written down. Our agendas are our BFFs!

2. Designate time for yourself. You need time to breath. This could be an episode or two of Netflix, reading a book or, if you're really ambitious, working out. Designating this time will make sure you get some quality 'you time,' even in the midst of a busy week.

3. Get enough sleep. This one is so, so important. You need to be fully refreshed to make the most of your day. It's impossible to be productive if you're constantly yawning or zoning out. Six-nine hours of sleep is necessary for your health, wellbeing, and overall success.

Manage that time like I know you all can! (Good luck)

Retail Merchandising

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Concept Workshop

Hi again!

This week in the senior interior design studio, we've been working on our concept phase for the HCMC North Loop Clinic design. You never know where or when you're going to find inspiration for your concept, so the workshop was designed to help us try to find inspiration and ideas without the help of technology. So we ditched the computers and brought in to class whatever art supplies we could find! During a three-hour studio, we had about 45 minutes per station to really get involved and creative with the tasks.

The first station I was at was the collage station. A variety of magazines were brought into class including Mpls St.Paul Magazine and National Geographic, to name a couple. These magazines that weren't interior design related were great sources of inspiration for me because it wasn't looking at interiors for inspiration, but rather more abstract things.

 Then I went to the games station. Here, one option was to play an adapted, interior design version of Scattergories! Another game was to play Scrabble with an emphasis on words that could be conceptual or interior design related.

Another station was a sketching station — whatever you wanted. If you had concepts in mind, you could sketch ideas to elaborate on them, or just doodle to find inspiration!

The next station built upon the previous as a 3D modeling station. Using paper or Play-Doh, we were tasked with translating our concept ideas into 3D forms.

Overall, this workshop was a fun and different way to find concept inspiration compared with previous workshops I've been a part of. I think it gave me some great things to put in my concept packet, which will soon be turned-in to show my work and how I'm arriving at possible concepts. Next week we will be meeting with our mentors to present three concept ideas we each have come up with, and we then get critiques and suggestions from them, which should be very helpful!

Until next time,
Interior Design

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Toy Design Takes Off

Hello Designers!

The fact that I took Toy Product Design my freshman year sincerely changed my life.  I realized what I truly wanted to do in life, and that was Product Design.  This class not only introduced me into the world of design, but also a world of prototyping, extremely important teamwork, and creativity.  As this year's Toy Design class takes off, I find myself extremely grateful that I get to lab instruct an awesome group of six students this semester.  I am so excited to participate in the class again, just in a different light this time.  The class is structured so that each group of six has an undergraduate lab instructor and an instructor from the industry.  As we work with this year's sponsor, Target, I cannot wait to see what will come out of this amazing class this semester. Freshman year I truly saw how design process worked by being a part of one, and I cannot wait to see it from the outside looking in this semester. Above is a picture of just some of the clues that students found during their scavenger hunt this Monday, during which they got to see all of the places that they will be working this semester and start to build a tight team bond! If you want to keep updated with this class, you can look at the website here. You can also look out for PLAYsentations tickets to go on sale nearing the end of the semester, since the event is held on May 3!  This is when all of the teams put together, well, a "playsentation" describing their toy!  It's tons of fun, and I would definitely recommend it for anyone no matter the age.

Until Next Time,
I'll see you designers at home (Rapson),

All the best,

Monday, February 6, 2017

Backstage at Instinct

We started off the day bright and early by sending our models to hair and makeup. It’s a long process, but it makes a huge difference in the way your look is perceived.

The next task was photos. When the look is on the model and in front of the camera, that’s when it really comes alive. I felt an immense amount of pride watching the seniors take their pictures. I know how hard everyone worked and the end result was absolutely stunning. It’s crazy to think that that’s going to be me next year.

Before the show, I also got to give my Project Diva mentee a behind-the-scenes tour. Read more about my work with Project Diva here. Zaria loved seeing how we put the show together.

The look I showed was a swimsuit embellished with Swarovski crystals. I remember spending days in the studio hand gluing each of the crystals on. For a designer, all that hard work is worth it when your model steps onto the runway. When that happens, you’ve got 20 seconds of the audience’s undivided attention. For 20 seconds, the only thing that matters is that you made that garment! As Juniors, we were just the opener. I can’t imagine how it’s going to feel when we’re the main event.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Relationships are Key

Hello everyone!

When I was in London last semester there were many adjustments I had to make. Specifically, my classes were so, so small! I'm sure most of us have been in those 500 person lecture halls at some point, and it's not that uncommon for someone's smallest class to be around 75 people. In London, one of my classes was only 6 people...WHAT?! I was honestly pretty overwhelmed by it. So you're telling me I can't just blend into the back of a lecture hall? You're telling me that I actually have to share my opinions and contribute in class? It was going to be a challenging semester.

However, I grew to love and appreciate my small classes. It was fun being able to genuinely get to know everyone in my class and actively participate in discussions. It also kept me accountable. Arguably most importantly, it allowed me to build relationships with my professors. It's so important to build relationships with your professors and mentors because those are the people that will write your recommendation letters for graduate schools and get you through the door to interview at big companies. My professors from London are some of my most favorite teachers, and I know it will benefit me in the future. Coming back from London, I'm challenging myself to become known by my big lecture hall professors as well. It may be harder, but it'll be worth it to have such a successful person in your corner. One way to make sure you get a head start on these beneficial relationships is to sign up for freshman seminars, which are small classes for freshman that will allow you to build a special relationship with your professor from the beginning of your undergraduate career. Check out more about it here.

Molly Wertheimer

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Season of Snow: Getting Around on Campus

Hey Everyone,

It’s the beginning of the new year and the new spring semester! With the start of the semester, I thought it would be a great time to discuss the many ways to get around campus. While winter weather can make it difficult at times to get to and from class, there are many transportation options around the U and the greater Twin Cities area that can ease this sometimes stressful situation.
Campus Bus Routes Map

Looking at getting around on campus, the University buses such as the Campus Connector can speed up travel time to class as well as give you a quick little break from the cold. You can use the connector to get around East Bank, West Bank and the St. Paul Campus. Another great way to get to class without facing the cold is the Gopher Way The Gopher Way is a series of tunnels and skyways that connect many buildings around campus. I especially like to use the tunnels connecting Rapson Hall to the Civil Engineering Building and the Mechanical Engineering Building.

Having the light rail directly on campus along with other city buses makes it incredibly easy to get around Minneapolis and St. Paul. You can hop on the light rail at Coffman Student Union and it’s about a 15-minute ride to downtown Minneapolis. This is another great option to use if you don’t want to drive in the winter weather.

Have a good start to the semester and stay warm!