For my STEP signature project, I completed an internship at The Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) on West Campus at Ohio State. Through CDME I was able to work as an Industrial Design Intern where I was able to practice 3d modeling on SolidWorks, as well as develop my skills in sketching and prototyping. I took part in important client meetings as well as designed a marketing system to allow CDME to gain $600,000 in assets for a job.
My experience at CDME has allowed me to grow as an industrial designer and experience things that I was not capable of going through in the school curriculum. First, it was my first designer specific job, and second, it was the first time I experienced a summer away from home. Getting the chance to live by myself in Columbus has made me grow tremendously and experience living by myself for the first time. This has allowed me to expand my skills in cooking and overall has made me grow up into someone who can confidently say I can live by myself after college. At CDME I was one of two designer interns who brought different skills to the engineering packed work place.
This internship was a lot of work but in the end I believe it was all worth it because it taught me valuable lessons that I wouldn’t of learned in the design curriculum at Ohio State. This experience hopefully will allow me to find a job after college and it has prepared for the amount of work expected out of a designer for a company.
My internship had a huge role to play in my personal transformation. As a designer, a school setting is very hard to find value in your work. Non-stop you are creating projects dictated by your teacher with no real impact on regular life. At CDME this perspective completely changed for me. I started out the summer with a job connected to Honda. Car design is something I have always been fascinated with so when I got a chance to work with Honda I was beyond excited. The project was to create an interactive installation for their new Lab on west campus at Ohio State. This was the first time in my professional career that a piece of my work would be seem by an abundance of people and be shown in somewhere as great as Honda. After I designed the piece and installed it in the final location it was surreal. Finally a piece of my hard work was displayed for everyone to see. Supposedly the piece will be displayed for 5 years for countless Honda employees. This project was the first time I realized that I could make a real difference with my design degree.
In design it is very project based. One after another you complete a project and move onto the next one. Most of the time you don’t have to think about how you will market the product and how it would do in the real economy. Through my Internship at CDME I was able to see this side of design. We were creating a project that used three industrial robots that create welds on intricate pieces of metal. For this project we needed over $600,000 of equipment. For a small company like CDME this number is insane and is something that we could never pay for ourselves. So before the project even began I created a marketing plan to allow us to gain the equipment through donations from the companies who supply robots, welding equipment, etc. Through renderings and proposals I was able to gain the $600,000 in equipment for free for CDME and allowed us to start on the project. This was a surreal experience for me because it showed that I was able to sell an idea and make a project that was going nowhere into the companies signature project that is being watched by countless companies.
The main project this summer that created the most change for me was my personal project at CDME. Before this project I had never wrote a proposal or had the company backing to complete my own project. The project was to create custom fitting shoes for people who deal with arthritis on an every day basis. The thought was that if custom fitting shoes were made for the specific way they walked then it could possibly lower the everyday pain they feel in their joints. CDME gave me the money to study and complete this project which made me grow as a designer like no project has ever before. This was the first time that I had to do everything by myself. I had to create my own deadline, write my own proposal, present in front of company bosses, and sell my idea to important people at CDME. Like I said before I never had to go through this in a school setting and it allowed me to grow as a designer and allow myself to make my own mistakes and take measures to make sure my project turned out how I specifically wanted it to.
In design there are many different paths you can take. You can go into furniture design, shoe design, car design, etc. Pretty much anything you can buy I could take part in designing. That being said it is hard to find a path that interests you and that you are excited to work for. Before CDME I had no idea what field I wanted to focus on and had no idea what I would be doing after college. But after CDME I realized that I loved the engineering side of design. CDME my designs a purpose and allowed me to get industry experience and really show me where I want to go in design. After my summer internship I was given a full time job during the school year which will allow me to grow my skills further outside the design program.