Sharing Design with The Next Generation

Page values our commitment to the communities in which we work, and one way we practice our beliefs is through continuing education and mentorship. Members of our design team recently provided insights to aspiring interior design students at the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) 15TH Annual Student Conference in Houston. Interior design students spent two days participating in educational activities and getting hands-on support from practicing professionals. Although it was organized by the Texas/Oklahoma chapter, students from as far as Georgia and Louisiana, Florida, and Kansas participated in the annual event.

The event’s key objectives were to help students grow, connect, lead and become inspired. Those words were everywhere during the conference: in the literature, in the talks, in the handbook and in the student activities. The inspirational activities included a tour of an architecture and design firm, which Page was pleased to host; a showroom; and a recently completed project. A design charrette judged by professionals was intended to support growth by exposing the students to work in a team environment under pressure.

They also were given the opportunity to lead discussions in mock interviews with and portfolio reviews by 30 practicing professionals, including Page senior designer David Euscher. He met with six design students in a three hour period to coach and evaluate their work and also heard their 30-second elevator pitches. Lastly, IIDA SC15 offered the students numerous opportunities to connect with other students, professional and industry representatives such as workshops, Learning 101 sessions and an industry tabletop expo among others.

Page designer Chelsea Reimer represented the firm during the expo, providing the students with details and personal insight into Page’s work culture. The students intently listened to her advice of reaching out to future employers and some seized the moment by leaving their resumes and business cards to show their interest in working for Page.

Michel L. Hurst, RID, IIDA, Senior Project Manager / Interior Designer at Transwestern, was one of three co-chairs for the 15th annual conference and the only one from out of town, a nod to her involvement with IIDA for more than two decades. She helped oversee an army of volunteers that worked for nine months to put this event on. She explained, “Every event during the conference requires a ton of coordination - the tours alone required eight buses, 24 sites, lunches, and chaperones.” 

It all becomes worthwhile when the student feedback begins to come in. A student from Oklahoma State University said, “I felt that I learned a massive amount of knowledge that is going to help me all the way from the interview process up to when I graduate and decide which route to take my Interior Design degree.” Another from Pittsburg State University wrote, “I didn't know what to expect going in but I learned so much, I am already saving the date for next year!”

IIDA SC15 enabled us to share our love of design with the next generation and practice our beliefs in collaboration and commitment - beliefs that many of our professionals continue to reinforce through teaching positions at architecture schools such as the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at Arlington.