Philadelphia University interior design student Sarah Murphy took first place in the American Society of Interior Designers Career Day Competition, winning $1,000 for having the top rated portfolio as judged by industry professionals and educators.
“Sarah is a talented designer. She has a very artistic eye and is equally talented at hand drawing, model building, digital imaging and the design of interior space,” said Lauren Baumbach, interior design program director. “She is passionate about her work and can always be found working late into the evening due to her incredible focus.”
Murphy said it was a great experience to be able to receive feedback and advice from successful interior designers about her work, and said that her win was a reflection of her education at PhilaU. “They judge the portfolios based on look and content, or the quality of projects completed,” she said. “The work in my portfolio reflects the quality of my classes at PhilaU.”
Several other PhilaU students participated in the contest, also receiving praise from the judges during the April 15 competition in Center City Philadelphia. “The feedback that I received was that our Philadelphia University students’ portfolios were stronger and more comprehensive than others,” Baumbach said.
The contest is organized similar to PhilaU’s DesignExpo event, Murphy said, where students meet with industry professionals for brief interviews and portfolio reviews before moving on to talk to someone else.
“I try to include a lot of different kinds of work in my portfolio, because each person likes to see something different,” Murphy said. She has all of her projects dating back to her sophomore year displayed in her portfolio. “I like to try to gauge my interviewer’s interest and show them what they are most interested in seeing.”
For some employers that might be detailed construction documents, often one of the tasks of entry-level designers, Murphy said, and others might be more interested in visually compelling pieces.
“My advice to current students is to keep really good documentation of your projects,” Murphy said. “Keep everything, even things you think are not important, like little sketch drawings you might want to throw away. It’s good to have a lot of different options to play around with when designing your portfolio.”