Where in the World are the First Product Design Grads?
May 21, 2015
One year ago, the first class to graduate from our Product Design program packed up their URBN Center studio spaces and headed into the world, armed with the professional and design skills needed to create innovative, human-centered solutions to today’s problems. We caught up with some of the inaugural graduates to find out what life has been like after earning a Drexel degree in Product Design—they are, after all, the first ones to ever do so. After graduation in 2014, Megan Peaslee participated in the Westphal-Close-Corzo Center Entrepreneurial program, an intensive six-week summer program where she worked on the business development of the project she created as her senior thesis. She followed this with an internship at Waltzing Matilda USA, a leather company based in Wayne, PA where she was able to do technical design work. She now serves as a UX (user-experience) Design Researcher at Honeywell's HUE (Honeywell User Experience) Group.
Megan says, “Having the multidisciplinary focus of product design and psychology, as well as some engineering and business, really helped me to quickly become accustomed to Honeywell's environment. Also, having very strong adjunct and full time professors who work in the User Research field really helped me to find what I am passionate about, and helped to motivate me to chase something that isn't a traditional product/industrial design path.”
Since graduation Osman Cueto has worked as an industrial designer at DESIGNLYNX LLC, a Product Design and Engineering firm in the Philadelphia area—an experience for which he says his degree has been invaluable in providing necessary skills and know-how, and in teaching him innovative ways of thinking and creating. Osman first entered Drexel as an Engineering major but quickly found his passion in Product Design. He received a great deal of media coverage for his senior project, BREATHE, a “connected” inhaler with a mobile app that helps the user learn more about asthma. The app also tracks where the inhaler is located, when and where the inhaler is used, how much medicine is left in it and when refills are needed.
Seth Fowler says, “The Product Design degree opened many doors for me through the connections that my professors provided, the design learning experience and the co-op experience. What really sets the program apart is the chance to intern in your field and apply what you've been learning. It really sets you up for an easy transition into professional life after graduation. The program also allowed me to explore the entrepreneurial aspect of design, which sparked my interest in continuing my education in business.” While at Drexel, Seth launched a small shoe customization business that he has continued to run after moving to New York. He also works full time at Lifetime Brands, a kitchenware design company in Long Island that designs products for its own brands including Faberware and Savora, as well as for other companies, including Kitchenaid and Martha Stewart. In addition to planning to get his MBA, Seth has worked as a freelancer in New York City with Inch Design and Prime Studios.
Alexa Forney also participated in the Westphal-Close-Corzo Center Entrepreneurial program after graduation, ultimately choosing not to further pursue her thesis concept. She spent the last year competing for in-demand design positions while continuing to work in Drexel’s Library system as a circulations supervisor. Currently she works as a substitute teacher and in a sales position, and additionally runs a small but growing brand consultation business on the side. This fall, she’ll enter the School of Visual Arts’ Products of Design program. Alexa says of some of the unexpected turns and challenges in her career path, “What Drexel has taught me is key and cornerstone to what I have chosen to do—a Drexel student is not only hardworking, they are resilient and determined to maximize every situation. Rather than grumble at narrowly missing several positions, I chose to select jobs that would stretch my potential. My Drexel education has taught me that action can always, always be taken, and something can always be learned.” Keeping her zeal for market research and design fresh through her brand consultation business, Alexa challenged us to check back in the next three to five years when she’ll be putting her sharpened skills in sales and management to good use in the product design field.