Inside and product design program connects artistic individuals with thrilling careers – UNK Information


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Students in UNK’s interior and product design program work one-on-one with faculty while learning about every element of the design field. (Photos by Erika Pritchard, UNK Communications)
College students in UNK’s inside and product design program work one-on-one with college whereas studying about each component of the design discipline. (Images by Erika Pritchard, UNK Communications)

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Let’s be trustworthy, all of us have our favourite home-makeover reveals.

“Fixer Higher.” “Flip or Flop.” “Love It or Checklist It.” “Residence City.” “Property Brothers.” The checklist of decisions goes on and on.

For some individuals, it’s enjoyable to dream about that excellent kitchen or spacious en suite. For others, these applications function inspiration to pursue an thrilling and difficult profession.

Very similar to Chip and Joanna Gaines, Erin and Ben Napier and Jonathan and Drew Scott, the College of Nebraska at Kearney’s inside and product design program continues to develop in reputation. With greater than 50 college students enrolled final semester, it’s doubled in dimension since Dana Vaux joined UNK eight years in the past.

“For people who find themselves artistic and like the thought of being in a artistic trade, this program provides them a chance to try this whereas making dwelling,” mentioned Vaux, an affiliate professor and program coordinator.

A level in inside and product design prepares college students to work in a wide range of settings, from customized furnishings and lighting design to full-scale residential and industrial initiatives. Lessons are taught by professional college with a variety of information and backgrounds, permitting college students to find out about artwork, structure, enterprise, development and different associated areas.

“We’re in a position to tailor the instruction to fulfill a scholar’s pursuits and strengths. It’s very customizable,” mentioned assistant professor Ahna Packard, who has skilled expertise in TV, film and theater set design.

UNK senior Mikayla McFate is studying interior and product design and interning with Studio B Design in Kearney. “I feel like I’m getting a well-rounded experience here and I like the hands-on approach, because that’s how I learn best,” she said.
UNK senior Mikayla McFate is learning inside and product design and interning with Studio B Design in Kearney. “I really feel like I’m getting a well-rounded expertise right here and I just like the hands-on strategy, as a result of that’s how I be taught finest,” she mentioned.


UNK senior Mikayla McFate actually enjoys that side of this system.

She’s enthusiastic about residential work, however desires to be uncovered to all parts of the design discipline.

“I’m very grateful I selected UNK,” McFate mentioned. “I really feel like I’m getting a well-rounded expertise right here and I just like the hands-on strategy, as a result of that’s how I be taught finest.”

A Callaway native, McFate has all the time had an eye fixed for design. She helped a neighborhood couple design their new house throughout highschool and shadowed knowledgeable designer in Lincoln who advisable she attend UNK.

“That was a extremely good preliminary studying expertise for me and it solidified my resolution to enter this discipline,” she mentioned.

Due to the smaller class sizes, UNK college students work one-on-one with college and develop shut relationships with their classmates, lots of whom take the identical programs collectively yr after yr.

“Our college students are type of like a household,” mentioned assistant professor Rebecca Hermance. “They get to know one another rather well and we get to know them.”

Most of those interactions happen in Discovery Corridor, a state-of-the-art STEM constructing that opened in fall 2020. This cutting-edge facility is a major improve from Otto Olsen, the previous vocational and industrial arts constructing it changed.

“Clearly the design of Discovery Corridor is gorgeous, so I really feel prefer it’s very becoming for our main to be in a extra fashionable, related constructing,” McFate mentioned. “I additionally suppose the classroom atmosphere is loads nicer right here.”

With 90,000 sq. toes of house, Discovery Corridor options 4 inside and product design studios, a lighting and supplies lab, fabrication lab and open gallery the place scholar initiatives are displayed.

Within the supplies lab, college students can experiment with various kinds of tile, paint, flooring, upholstery and different finishes, utilizing adjustable lighting to alter the colour temperature. The fabrication lab has 3D printers, laser cutters, a CNC router and different instruments used to make scale fashions and prototypes. And each scholar has entry to a pc workstation with the most recent design software program.

“Experiential studying is such an enormous time period proper now, and we do it on daily basis in all the things we do,” Vaux mentioned. “This house and these labs enable college students to have these experiences.”

At UNK, inside and product design is carefully tied to development administration, with college students in each applications taking programs similar to development supplies and strategies, mechanical and electrical programs and constructing codes and inspections. College from every self-discipline had been concerned within the growth of a development administration minor that’s common with inside and product design majors.

“That’s been a extremely nice choice for our college students, particularly as design-build turns into extra frequent,” mentioned Vaux, referencing a supply methodology the place the designer and builder work collectively beneath a single contract from the start levels of a undertaking.

The collaboration with development administration was a famous power through the inside and product design program’s current reaccreditation. Beforehand achieved in 2007 and 2014, this designation from the Council for Inside Design Accreditation (CIDA) tells employers UNK graduates are well-prepared for skilled positions.

“If you graduate from a CIDA-accredited program, the one that hires you is aware of you’ve met a excessive normal of information,” Vaux mentioned. “It separates you as knowledgeable.”

UNK’s interior and product design program utilizes several studio and lab spaces where students can experiment with different materials and create scale models and prototypes.
UNK’s inside and product design program makes use of a number of studio and lab areas the place college students can experiment with totally different supplies and create scale fashions and prototypes.


Together with their on-campus actions, UNK college students have the chance to work on initiatives with neighborhood companions.

Lately, college students collaborated with the S.A.F.E. Middle to generate concepts for expanded housing for individuals impacted by home violence and offered design choices to a developer turning a historic downtown Kearney constructing right into a lodge. Additionally they labored with the Holdrege-based South Central Financial Improvement District, which acquired a home from the Nebraska Prairie Museum property to relocate and renovate.

“Just about each class has a undertaking that’s associated to a real-world situation,” Vaux mentioned.

College students additionally full an internship previous to commencement, giving them extra on-the-job expertise.

“One of the simplest ways to determine when you’re in the precise discipline or in the precise space of your discipline is to only give it a attempt, and I feel internships are actually nice for that,” McFate mentioned. “It’s an incredible trial run to see what you’re on the lookout for in a profession.”

McFate is at present interning with Studio B Design, a Kearney enterprise that serves clients from idea to completion, whether or not it’s a transform or new development.

“I’m loving my internship proper now,” she mentioned. “It’s all the things I used to be on the lookout for in residential design.”

The UNK senior plans to start out her profession in Kearney, a really achievable objective since most college students within the inside and product design program land a full-time job earlier than they graduate.

“There’s no scarcity of demand for inside design specialists, and I don’t see it slowing down,” Vaux mentioned.

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