Apr 1, 2011

Proudly UC Beyond Our Borders: Matt Gill of Cleveland

“To educate tomorrow’s citizens, we must expand opportunities for global engagement in our curriculum.” ~ University of Cincinnati President Gregory Williams

In an ongoing series of posts, UC Where You Are will take a look at the unique experiences and learning opportunities afforded to students who are currently studying abroad. Most are grant or scholarship recipients who might otherwise not had the opportunity to contribute their experiences to the global classroom.
Matt Gill at the Bosphorous, aka the
Istanbul Strait in Istanbul, Turkey.

We continue our series by introducing you to Matt Gill, a fourth year industrial design major from North Ridgeville, a community located about 30 minutes outside of the Greater Cleveland metro. The recipient of a $500 Globalization Grant, Matt just wrapped up two quarters in Germany. Here is his story:

University of Cincinnati: Let’s start with the basics: What is your major at UC, when do you expect to graduate, and what are your plans after graduation?

Matt Gill: I am a fourth year (of five) industrial design: product major at UC’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP). I will graduate in the spring of 2012. I hope to start off my career at a product design firm on one of the coasts. I haven't picked an exact specialty, such as consumer electronics, medical or furniture design, so I would like to be somewhere that explores a wide variety of products to design.

Why did you choose the University of Cincinnati? What did the campus (or your program of study) offer that other colleges or campuses did not?

The industrial design program at UC is incredibly well-equipped. Few other schools have the kind of facilities available to students that DAAP does: three 3D printing machines for fabricating prototypes, a laser cutter and multiple milling machines introduce students to the cutting-edge technology being used in the field. Together with the co-op program, I knew I would get invaluable real-world experience that would never occur in a classroom alone. I also found the co-op program would expose me to the kind of design companies I hope to work for after college.

Campus was also a big draw for me; it's not often you see highly-ranked industrial design programs in a state university, and UC is #2 nationally. The variety of colleges and majors really provide a great atmosphere where DAAP students are not isolated in our own private art school. We get to have a real college experience and learn from those following careers paths far different than our own.

When did you decide to study abroad? How did you come to choose Germany as your location?

We had been shown a presentation by previous Wuppertal exchange students who are in industrial design (our two industrial design programs have an exchange partnership) and it seemed like such a priceless experience. A year or so later, I received an e-mail from one of our professors, Steve Doehler, stating that students interested in any of the exchanges should send in their portfolios ASAP. I spent the next three nights hardly sleeping, polishing my portfolio and then sent it away. At the end of the week I got an e-mail back with the subject "You're going on exchange!" and Steve had placed me in Wuppertal, matching my portfolio up with the workflow there.

How do you anticipate your study abroad work to influence your future career options?

I found that in Wuppertal, the professors are very detail-oriented. Spending a semester there helped me hone my skills and think strongly about the decisions I make as I work on my projects. It immensely helped me understand the engineering side of design, something very important since my field often works in tandem with engineers.
Tell us a little about your experience. What were some of the highlights of your trip?
The Austrian Alps, a favorite destination of Matt's
during his study abroad experience.

I started my exchange off with a trip that was hosted by our Director of Design, Soo-Shin Choi. For almost two weeks, my classmates and I visited major design destinations in England, Germany and Italy. After that I traveled to Spain with my fellow UC exchange student, Anouk, who is also in industrial design major. I then began to visit various places throughout the semester including Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Turkey and the Austrian Alps. My three favorites have been Spain for the amazing relaxed atmosphere and weather, Turkey for the extreme difference to our westernized American culture and the Alps, because it's where I learned to ski for the first time. These places were just plain fun!

The destinations that were probably best for me in regards to my profession were Braun headquarters in Germany, Pininfarina (a design consultancy that has made – and continues to make – many iconic automobiles) in Italy and Square1 design studio right next door to Wuppertal in Dusseldorf. My professor, Mr. Trauernicht, owns the studio with another professor, Mr. Topel, and they were kind enough to show us around and take us out to lunch to give us a better idea of what professional design means to them.

Hagia Sophia, a former basilica - and later, a mosque -
 that is now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

Did you study abroad while you were in school? Where is the last place outside of the United States that you've been to? Share your story below!

No comments:

Post a Comment