Written by Interior Design Student Ana Berthelsen.
At the end of February, eighteen Interior Design students and the Interior Design Program Director Tamie Glass represented the School of Architecture in Los Angeles at SCALE, a national student conference hosted by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). UT Austin tied with LSU for the greatest number of students attending the conference, earning a shout-out during the conference welcome event. At SCALE, students had many opportunities to network, learn through specialized workshops and seminars, visit local firms, and tour design projects in the Los Angeles area.
While all took part in these experiences, one student in particular was able to participate in a unique opportunity provided by SCALE. Each year, ASID hosts a national portfolio competition where a select number of students compete and interview for a summer internship at leading firms and companies. This year, Kaylen Parker, a fourth-year Interior Design student, was 1 of 22 students selected as a portfolio finalist from hundreds of applicants. In addition to this honor, Parker was 1 of 8 students who received a 2018 internship and the opportunity to present work from her portfolio to approximately 400 SCALE attendees. This summer, Parker will be spending her time in San Francisco, working for Studio O+A!
We asked Kaylen Parker about her experience as a portfolio finalist and how she set herself up for success:
Ana Berthelsen (AB): How was your experience of SCALE as a portfolio competition finalist?
Kaylen Parker (KP): My experience was different from most attendees in the best way possible. I connected with the other finalists from all over the U.S. who I wouldn’t have talked to without the competition bringing us together. Additionally, I had one-on-one contact with the judges, who were mostly senior level designers.
AB: How was the interview process structured?
KP: Eight judges were scattered across a room and eight finalists at a time sat down for series of four 20-minute interviews. My first interview was before lunch and the other three were one after the other in the afternoon.
AB: You earned an internship with O+A this summer. What are you most excited about?
KP: I’m pumped to learn about workplace design and how to create space for companies with strong identities. It seems like a fun challenge.
AB: What tips would you give future interior design students hoping to participate in this unique opportunity?
KP: Work super hard and take time on the rough draft of your portfolio (I took two full weeks during Christmas break a year ago) and continue to update and refresh the layout as you learn more. When it comes time to apply, give them exactly what they ask for. You may not be chosen if you don’t supply the exact requirements. After that, be bold and make your portfolio stand out by starting with your best project.
AB: Congratulation, Kaylen! We are so excited for you.
Ampersand would like to thank Courtney Johnston and Heather Sutherland from Perkins + Will, Laura Britt from Laura Britt Design, Ashlynn Bourque from Sherwin-Williams, and the Interior Design Program for making this trip possible.