2014 IIDA Student Portfolio Competition

Thaddeus Lee is a senior level student at California State University Long Beach. He was awarded first place in the 2014 Student Portfolio Review and received a $5000 scholarship for his work. He came to the US after completing high school in Macau to pursue an education in Interior Design. Thaddeus recently shared his experience in the competition and his future plans with BrightIIDeAs.

The portfolio competition was an incredibly fun experience for me to participate in. It was comprised of two parts; a preliminary application and an interview. I turned in a personal essay, a recommendation letter and finally a work sample. Twelve students from all the applicants were then selected to participate in an oral presentation at the SAA office in Irvine. I was nervous walking up to the office, but the welcoming faces and beautiful interior of SAA made me feel comfortable and excited to meet the judges. The oral presentation was a pleasant and fun moment for me – it was nice talking to the designers while I showed them my work and received their feedback. Interacting with professionals in the field was very inspiring, plus the judges were down to earth and easy to talk to which made the experience very memorable.

Winning Project by Thaddeus Lee

For the portfolio review I presented two of my projects from 2013. One was an individual project from junior studio and the other was a group project from senior studio. Both submissions showcased what I have learned in my classes and the thinking process from initial concepts and ideation sketches to complete interior environments.

It is an honor to be awarded this IIDA scholarship and without the support from my professors and fellow classmates, I wouldn’t have succeeded in this competition. I really appreciate the people who have contributed to my success.

As a graduating student, I am working on my thesis project this semester. It is a joy to do what I am passionate about and to create a project that belongs to me and accurately reflects my style. Upon graduation, I hope to secure a job in Los Angeles where I can further refine my design skills. I am excited to gain experience as a true professional once I enter the industry.

Thaddeus Lee, Student IIDA
California State University Long Beach

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