At Project 366’s recent event, our pupils from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle attend a tour of N.C. State University’s College of Design led by current students in the design program. The pupils learn about the many opportunities in the design fields like landscaping, architecture, fashion design, graphic design, and industrial design. Prior to beginning the tour, our group has the pleasure of learning about the lifestyle of an engineer from a professional in the field. Gabrielle, our engineering professional, holds a Ph.D. in materials science, electrical and sound engineering, and spent her time as an undergraduate to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Performance Art Technology. The combination of an art and engineering background allows Gabrielle to thrive as a product engineer because she is able to understand the science of her work while simultaneously enjoying the design process.
Leading the tour, current students from the Multicultural Design Students Association give our pupils the opportunity to connect the practicality of combining art with science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) fields to follow career-driven paths through the arts. Our tour guides provide our pupils with their personal experiences and answer questions about their chosen fields. A pupil asks if architecture students “just get to flow with their ideas” and the tour guide replies yes. The pupil’s eyes light up! This small moment solidifies the importance of inspiring career-driven thinking in design fields at an early age.
In addition to the tour and learning session from a professional in the engineering field, another important aspect of this event is focusing on the value of “perseverance.” Project 366 focuses on emphasizing the importance of building core values and incorporating these values in the art and STEM fields. STEM and design fields are competitive, and many students find themselves in non-traditional roles as they pursue their educations. It is extremely inspiring to hear the personal accounts of the tour guides. One guide, Josh, shares his personal experience about getting into the world of industrial design. After researching careers related to his passions, Josh realized industrial design is his dream field and he applied to N.C. State’s College of Design. After an initial rejection from the school, Josh kept working and met with the head of the industrial department to discuss his portfolio. They spoke about improvements he could make as a way to find a path to acceptance into the program. Josh was admitted into the College of Design after re-submitting his application, and his perseverance is a tool anyone can use to help stay on track of their goals. Ending his story on an extremely positive note, Josh encourages the pupils to “believe in your process, and believe in your work because you’ll never know what could happen.”