More than 350 students from the College of Architecture and the Built Environment and the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce connected with employers from 84 leading design firms in the Gallagher Center at Philadelphia University’s annual Design Expo on March 23. Companies conducted a record 980 scheduled interviews with PhilaU students. In addition, during the open networking period, students could approach any employer’s table to pitch a project in their portfolio and network with design professionals.
“The employers at Design Expo are incredibly strong partners of PhilaU,” said Ainsley Maloney, assistant director of industry relations. “They have great respect for our programs and love to come back year after year to recruit our top talent. What’s also incredible is that more than 50 of the representatives are PhilaU alumni.”
The event allowed sophomore, junior and senior design students, fourth- and fifth-year architecture students and graduate students to discuss and interview for internships and full-time positions with some of the design industry’s leading firms.
“The employers at Design Expo aren’t coming for branding, they are coming to hire,” said Tracy DePedro, director of the Career Services Center at PhilaU. “They have actual openings. Students can receive valuable feedback on their portfolios and interviewing skills from professionals in the field.”
EwingCole has recruited PhilaU students for the past five years, said Robert McConnell, director of architecture. The firm sought architects and interior designers for full-time and summer internship positions at Design Expo.
“The students are well prepared to enter the profession,” he said. “We invest in training young professionals, but it is helpful when new graduates have good design skills and can explore options and develop concepts. The students have good foundational skills and can participate in advancing work in our office.”
Vanessa Rivera, art supervisor with healthcare advertising agency GSW, also continues to recruit at PhilaU because of the strong curriculum and the impressive work students produce. At Design Expo, they were looking for interns to potentially hire full time. She said students with the edge possessed high creative output matched with beautiful portfolios and could speak eloquently about their decision-making and design process.
For Beth Perkins, talent acquisition manager at Delphic Digital, she wanted to meet UX and interactive/web designers with top design-thinking skills who could be flexible and juggle multiple projects at once. “We’ve always looked to PhilaU for great talent,” said Perkins, noting the company has recruited at the University for over a decade.
Graphic design communication senior Lauren King interviewed with Delphic Digital, along with Vanguard, Profero Group, Robert Half, AWeber, Archer Group, GSW and Humid Creative Agency. With graduation a couple months away, she attended Design Expo to help land a full-time position.
“Design Expo was a great opportunity to practice interviewing and presenting my work to potential employers,” she said.
Fifth-year architecture student Ryan Schaefer also had a full slate of interviews, including meetings with Toll Brothers, JL Architects, Stantec, Cope Linder Architects and Buckl Architects, in hopes of finding a full-time job at a Philadelphia-area firm.
Brittany Ewing met with companies L2Partridge, Spillman Farmer Architects, WRT, Looney Ricks Kiss, among others. The fifth-year architecture student attended Design Expo to get her name and work out there.
“I figured this was a great opportunity,” she said. “It also gives me a chance to practice my interview skills and showcasing my work. Even if nothing pans out, I’m happy for the exposure.”
Students from all design-related disciplines, including animation, architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design communication, industrial design, interactive design and media, interior design, sustainable design, fashion design, textile design, user experience, geospatial technology for geodesign and surface imaging, participated in Design Expo.
“It’s amazing to know that more than 1,000 connections between students and employers can be created at PhilaU in one exciting day,” Maloney said.