Metro Vancouver, B.C. – Input, innovation and a skilled eye for interior design are what earned an interior design student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Wilson School of Design an all-expenses paid trip to Ottawa, and the chance to ‘propel’ her budding career forward.
Divya Dias was one of 40 students and emerging professionals from across Canada – and the only KPU student – selected to attend the Interior Designers of Canada’s PROpel: What’s Trending? conference earlier this month.
“The PROpel conference was so much more than I expected. I got the opportunity to have thought-provoking conversations with people from the industry and have made lifelong connections,” said Dias, a Burnaby resident.
While completing her fourth year in KPU’s Richmond-based interior design program, Dias participated in online discussions and connected with conference sponsors through their MindMixer site. Questions were posted by organizers to create conversations about current industry issues and trends. Participants received points for every idea, thought or comment shared.
“Sustainable design and technology played a major part of the discussions that were brought to life at the conference,” said Dias. Through a series of interactive workshops and activities, she had the opportunity to network with leading industry professionals and event partners, some of which are the biggest players in interior design: Knoll, Benjamin Moore & Co. Ltd., Levey Industries and 3M Canada.
Before learning she had been selected to attend the two-day conference, Dias was in the midst of finalizing her program's capstone project: she designed a Vancouver-based youth transition centre intended to provide a safe haven for youth aging out of the government care system.
Dias’s final project and the conference reinforced for her the idea that designers have to work with constraints, rather than against them, to push creative boundaries.
Those who have watched her accomplishments unfold see Dias as a highly driven, innovative individual who takes every life experience as an opportunity to learn and better herself. Dias has received awards from KPU, and received a scholarship from the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH) for her outstanding work as an interior design student.
“We are very proud of Divya. KPU’s interior design program recognizes the value of community involvement and we actively encourage students to engage and connect with the interior design community. We are thankful to the Interior Designers of Canada for providing the next generation of industry professionals with such a unique opportunity to share and form meaningful relationships,” said interior design program coordinator, Lucie Gagné.
Dias is currently working at P+A Interiors in a role she received after completing a two-week work placement with the business. Down the road, she hopes to pursue higher education.
“I am passionately drawn to the world of non-profits. After graduating, I hope to pursue a master's in architecture after gaining work experience in the interior design industry. I want to do my part in making the world a better place,” she said.
KPU’s interior design program is the only degree program in Western Canada that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. To learn more, visit kpu.ca/interiordesign. Information on the Interior Designers of Canada conference is available here.
About the Wilson School of Design
The Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is a leader in design education, playing a significant role in shaping the design leaders of tomorrow. Located on Canada’s spectacular West Coast, the Wilson School of Design offers seven unique programs through certificate, diploma, bachelor’s degree, and post-baccalaureate qualifications. With its purposefully small class sizes, hands-on learning approaches, faculty expertise, direct connection with industry and the advanced technological resources, the School of Design instills a deep understanding of design thinking and the design process. For more information about the Wilson School of Design, please visit kpu.ca/design.
About Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has served the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 learners. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs in business, liberal arts, design, health, science and horticulture, trades and technology, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 120 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at kpu.ca.
Photos of Divya Dias are available on Flickr. Renderings of her capstone project are available here and here.
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