Nineteen Industrial Design juniors and seniors traveled to Portland in late April to participate in the IDSA West District Design Conference. They were accompanied by Assistant Professor Jason Germany who is also the IDSA UW student chapter advisor. This year’s conference theme was DESIGN: HYBRID.
While in Portland, the students learned from a day and a half of conference presentations. The portfolio reviews by professionals were especially helpful, and the opening reception at Wacom headquarters was memorable. They also attended Design Week Portland events since the IDSA meeting overlapped with that festival. A special opportunity outside these gatherings was a tour of Nike headquarters in Beaverton. The students saw designer work spaces as well as met and talked with several of the leading Nike designers.
One regular part of the IDSA meeting is presentations by students from the top industrial design programs in the district. Each Student Merit speaker receives an award for being selected by their program. The presenter for the UW was Emily Pasternack, a senior. She talked about her work (a device for electricians and a wearable emotion tracker) as well as her approach to human-centered design and problem framing. She had this to say about her experience in Portland:
The conference was an excellent opportunity for students to interface directly with professionals from all over the West Coast. At UW, we have great connection with the Seattle area, but in this case the conference was unique because we had access to people from California, Oregon, and even New York and London in some cases. The professionals who came to speak seemed very engaged in providing insights and advice to students, and so it was a very welcoming environment. Having such a large group of UW students attend really demonstrated that our program is strong and passionate. I want to particularly thank Professor Germany for facilitating the whole thing, as he worked very hard to get us all the funding we needed to make this feasible. Overall, it was a fun adventure to take as a class, in addition to being a great opportunity and resource for many of us.