Student Mentoring Week is the result of an initiative created by IIDA’s continued effort to acknowledge the important role that students play in furthering the design industry. Student Members gain critical day-in-the-life interior design experience through participation in this popular yearly event. Nearly 1,000 design students and industry professionals were paired in 2011, making it the most successful year yet! Sonya Kammes was kind enough to share her experience with us.
As a student member of IIDA (International Interior Design Association) I was given the opportunity to take part in the 9th Annual Student Mentoring Week. The program as described by the association “is a result of IIDA’s effort to acknowledge the important role students play in furthering the design industry.” They pair students – designers of the future with industry professionals – designers of today for an unforgettable day-in-the-life experience. For me, the program exceeded my expectations and created a connection with James Geier and Karen Herold at 555 International, Inc. that will be invaluable to my personal and professional growth as a designer.
I choose to participate in this program for two reasons. To see what life as an interior designer is really like and to answer questions my professors, academic advisors, and fellow classmates could not. Questions like, “Am I investing my time and money in the right career?”, “Will I enjoy the lifestyle and work that follows graduation?”, and “Do my personal goals, skills, and values thrive in this industry?”
A day with James, Karen, and the staff at 555 answered all of my questions and more. During my time there I was invited to sit in on a few design meetings, show my portfolio, and receive honest and candid feedback about the expectations, rewards, and challenges of being a designer.
Not only was I able to answer my questions with a resounding yes, I also developed an awareness of how I can apply what I am learning in class as a student to my career as a designer. I was able to make connections with people who I will have the privilege of working with at one time or another during my career and began to develop a professional network of talented designers who are eager to share their experiences, advice, and knowledge with me.
However, the most rewarding experience is yet to come. Shortly after participating in IIDA’s Mentoring Week, 555 International, Inc. offered me an internship – my first day Friday, March 25th, 2011.
I appreciate the opportunity IIDA gives students to connect with designers and am looking forward to working with a very talented group of people as an Intern at 555 International, Inc.
Thanks Sonya for sharing your experience with us and congratulations on your new internship!