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UC Expands Experiential Learning Options via Summer Externships for Graduate Design Students


UC graduate design students are currently participating in the first-ever summer externships required as part of their program. The effort is part of the Academic Master Plan goal to provide all students with experiential learning opportunities.

Date: 6/2/2013 11:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by DEKA Research and Development

UC ingot   Students who have recently completed their first year in the University of Cincinnati’s graduate design program in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) are now on required summer design externships with employers across the nation.

These paid work positions, the first required as part of the graduate program in design, are providing students with both earning and experiential learning opportunities. As such, these new summer externships for graduate design students between their first and second year are contributing to fulfillment of the Academic Master Plan’s 2019 goal that 100 percent of UC’s student body receive experiential learning opportunities.

The employers providing these work experiences are
UC's Krista Alley
UC graduate design student Krista Alley at her current externship with DEKA Research and Development in Manchester, N.H.


  • Bakery Crafts, a manufacturer of cake decorations, West Chester, Ohio
  • Chamberlain Group, Inc., world’s largest manufacturer of automatic door openers, access control products and gate openers, Chicago, Ill.
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • DEKA Research and Development, Corp., a prestigious product innovation firm, Manchester, N.H.
  • Gilmore Group, branding and design firm, New York, N.Y.
  • Johnson Controls, Inc., a global firm offering products and services to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings and automotive parts and systems, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Kao Group, consumer products company, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Live Well Collaborative, a non-profit research and development incubator of products and services for the 50+ market place, founded by UC in partnership with Procter & Gamble, Co., Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Sea Ray Boats, the globe’s largest maker of pleasure boats, Knoxville, Tenn.
For student Krista Alley, 26, of Cleveland, Ohio, her current co-op at DEKA matches perfectly with her long-term goal of designing medical devices. She said, “Ever since I decided to become a medical-device designer, I have always dreamed of working at DEKA. I couldn’t be happier that UC’s co-op program helped make this opportunity possible for me.”

Alley chose her DEKA co-op because it’s work that relates directly to her thesis, in which she will compare medical-device design processes with those for traditional consumer products. “By working at DEKA, I will be able to gain hands-on experience and insight to both processes, and I get to go into work everyday doing what I absolutely love doing!” she stated, adding, “Another great thing about working at DEKA is that I get to take on as big of a role as I feel I can handle. My role is to provide design support to all the engineering teams, which has given me the opportunity to be involved in several projects in the company.”

That kind of experience is the reason UC is requiring an externship of graduate design students, according to Tom Osborne, assistant professor educator of professional practice.

He said, “Experiential learning is a cornerstone of the learning environment we’ve had at UC for over a century. Extending these kinds of advantageous experiences that we provide on the undergraduate level to the graduate level just makes sense.”