By Zach Samalonis
It has been a long running tradition in the Jefferson Industrial Design Department to host the Sprint Challenge. Sprint gives the students a taste of what it is like to be a real designer, working with real clients. This year’s client was JeffSolves, a project incubator created to generate innovative approaches for diseases that lack effective treatments and could benefit from new therapies developed at Jefferson. Sprint gives Jefferson ID students an experience that they would not receive anywhere else. Here are some of the top benefits of participating in the Sprint project:
Sprint lets you connect with others in the department you might not have had the chance to meet.
Because of the way Sprint teams are structured, usually every group will have a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior and sometimes a graduate student. Working on a project like this allows you to make new connections and really see the depth of the program. “I think Sprint is great because you get to interact with a lot of people that you may not talk to normally,” said sophomore Jess Monteleone. “There’s always a lot you can learn from working with upperclassmen.” Sprint gives you somebody to look up to (or someone to look after). New friendships are formed, and it really defines what “studio culture” means at Jefferson University.
You learn as a freshman what it is like to work with a real client.
From day one at Jefferson, freshman are told that they will be treated like real designers. While the studio classes are structured to teach this, Sprint is the first time freshman get to see what it is like to work with real clients. You learn that design isn’t a linear process and a ton can change after you present your initial ideas.
You learn what you are good at… and where you need to improve.
Each year, Sprint forces you to work quickly. The design process is vastly condensed to a week’s time, so skills become very important. This is where working as a team comes into play. Sometimes one person is good at sketching while another is great at CAD. Sprint week is a great time to use your team, pick up some skills, and share what you know.
Your experience includes the good and the bad.
Sprint week can be both fun and stressful. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Models can get messed up and ideas can get trashed. A lot of the experience is learning how to both manage a team and stay on task. You will learn that sometimes the leaders aren’t just the Juniors but other members of the team. The best Sprint projects are the ones where all the members are able to work together and express their ideas.
You learn a ton in just a week’s time.
After the presentations, you have some time to reflect on your experience and absorb all that you learned. Sophomore Charles Barilo said, “It’s always great to take a step back at the presentations at the end of the week and look around and realize how much incredible work is accomplished in only a week’s time.” At the end of the day each group has a great portfolio piece and you can talk about your experience in job interviews.