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FIT Exhibit Design graduates begin internships

On May 16, 2011, the graduating class at FIT, earning a master’s degree in exhibition design, conducted their annual Capstone thesis presentation event.

The Capstone event is organized like a mini-tradeshow where each of the 16 students set up in a 10-foot space to feature their work and conduct their presentations. For five hours, each student presented thesis projects for 3-5 judges for 20 minutes each. Each judge was asked to critique the presentations for content, style and clarity. The judges consisted of FIT staff members and 39 industry professionals.

“The thought process and execution demonstrated by each of the student designers could compete with the best in our business today,” said Jon Horn, creative director of 3D Exhibits.

Each of the students will now go on to serve an 8-week internship working with an exhibit design firm for hands-on experiences. The EDPA has been eager to help in supporting the FIT program with input from industry experts and is now offering scholarship funding from the EDPA Foundation.

“The members of our association clearly see the value in supporting such a program,” said Jeff Provost, executive director of the EDPA. “Their passion for carving a bright future is strong.”

The event keynote speaker was Tali Krakowsky, founder of Apologue, a company that is dedicated to the creation of immersive storytelling environments. Tali emphasized the notion that after extensive research and in-depth thinking about a design, designers should be passionately stubborn about their visions for success.

“In the end, constructive compromise is often necessary to arrive at buy in, but defend your gut feelings,” she said.
The presentations to the design judges should help the students develop those skills.

“The ability to stand in front of a group and effectively present your ideas is a priceless skill to win the hearts of potential buyers,” said Mark Johnson, CEO of Star Exhibits.

FIT has a long history of preparing students for successful careers in the exhibit industry.

“We are proud to see our graduating students go on to be gainfully employed in the world of exhibition design each year,” said Brenda Cowan, director of the FIT Exhibit Design program. “This year’s crop of students will have no trouble doing the same. After each year’s journey with the students, I feel a sense of joy and pride to see the students grow in confidence and in skill. With an educational foundation built upon field work, studio work and critical research, our students should see themselves as stewards of the profession.” 


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