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k-12 field trips

Weekend Workshops

The Design Lab offers Weekend Workshops for high school students at our Design Lab studio here at the College of Design. Our workshops are brief, immersive design education experiences, offering a wide range of opportunities for teens interested in design. From skill-building to design thinking to concept-based projects to interdisciplinary design mash-ups and more, our talented instructors guide students in developing knowledge and experience in their focus area. Please continue to visit our website from time to time to learn about new workshops and programs we’re offering.

Spring 2023 // Weekend Workshops

Registration Opens Friday, February 10 at 9:00am // See the Link Below to Access our Registration System

The Design Lab is excited to offer six discipline-specific, in-person, Weekend Workshops this spring. Each workshop will take place on Saturdays from 9:00am – 4:00pm with a one hour break at noon for lunch. See the weekend workshop schedule below. Students can register any time between February 10 and one week in advance of each workshop, and students can register for as many weekend workshops as they are interested in.

Workshops will introduce students to design thinking and the design process through challenge-based activities. Through these workshops, students will have the opportunity to develop a better understanding of our designed world and find answer to these questions: What is design? How do designers think?

Weekend Workshop Schedule // Spring 2023

Saturdays from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Scratching the Surface: Exploring the Foundations of Design through Drawing, Making, and Etching

The art of design starts with the art of observation. In this studio, we will take a look at the basic principles and elements of design, including Gestalt principles, and practice intentionally putting elements together through collaging and sketching. The studio will culminate in a project using a scratchboard and stylus to practice making those intentional marks and thinking through our design process.

  • Grade Range: 9th – 12th Grade
  • Total Seats: 20
  • Cost: $70

Instructor // Jillian Swaim

Hi! My name is Jillian. I’m a master’s of graphic and experience design student in the College of Design here at NC State. Originally from Maryland, I received my BFA with a concentration in graphic design from Salisbury University on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I do research in virtual reality as well as work in the Virtual Reality Studio at the D.H. Hill Library. My research explores the intersection of art, design, and STEM and how to create an immersive storytelling experience and a way to teach STEM in a multimodal, creative way. My other artistic interests include illustration, painting, and drawing. 

Introduction to UX (User Experience) Design

This workshop will introduce students to accessible UX (user experience) design. Graphic design, as a profession, has evolved beyond visual aesthetics, shifting to focus more heavily on users, and how they experience and interact with products, services, and interfaces. 

In this introductory workshop, students will be assigned a user persona, with the goal of designing an accessible and inclusive experience to meet this users needs. Just like professional graphic and experience designers, students will complete research, produce empathy maps, and engage in perspective-taking through user journey mapping.

  • Grade Range: 9th – 12th Grade
  • Total Seats: 18
  • Cost: $65

Instructor // Liz Chen

Liz Chen (she/they) is a multicultural graphic designer based in Raleigh, NC. In 2019, they received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Reporting) with a minor in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently, Liz is a full-time student pursuing a Master’s Degree in Graphic and Experience Design (MGXD) from North Carolina State University and works in publishing as the Managing Editor of the American Journal of Surgery. Their research interests include design ethics and philosophy, design activism, design pedagogy, inclusive design, information design, and machine learning.

Less is More” – Mies

Have you ever wondered how buildings were designed? What was the thought process behind it? What were the various factors considered while designing a habitat?

In this workshop, students will experience a creative approach to designing a habitat, exploring this through various principles of Design. Students will also investigate various layers of Architectural Design. They will also explore design thinking three dimensionally with proper supervision and safety protocols. With materials carefully crafted for the workshop, students will be able to extrude their designs from paper to a three dimensional model with confidence. 

  • Grade Range: 9th – 12th Grade
  • Total Seats: 20
  • Cost: $70

Instructor // Raja Manikam Bandari

Vanakkam! This is Raja Manikam Bandari. Having origins in India, I have experience in Design and Photography. I completed my Bachelors of Architecture and currently, I am a Graduate student of Architecture at NC State University. My research focuses on sustainability, city design, and urban morphology of the city. I like to help students realize the various layers of design interwoven in our day-to-day lives with a hint of fun!

Main Character Energy: Designing Characters for Animation and Games

From Spiderman to Mario, from Mickey Mouse to Olaf, whether 2D or 3D, many of our most beloved heroes started as drawings in a sketchbook. In this one day workshop, students will learn about the character design process by designing a protagonist for a movie or game. Students will begin by writing their character’s personality and situation, which will serve as the launching point to develop the visual style of the character and create a color illustration of their character. Students will learn how visual designs can strategically support the story, and learn how to create compelling characters and situations and how to practice their illustration skills. At the end of the workshop, students will be given resources on how to transform their character from a physical 2D drawing into digital mediums, including software for creating 3D models and how to set up digital illustrations for 2D computer animation.

  • Grade Range: 9th – 12th Grade
  • Total Seats: 15
  • Cost: $70

Instructor // Alison Armstrong

Hello! My name is Alison Armstrong, and I’m a graduate student of art and design here at NCSU. I completed my undergraduate studies at TCU, where I double majored in studio art (painting concentration) and world religions, and I’ve worked in non-profits and film analysis. My graduate research is focused on the intersection of narrative, artificial intelligence, and marginalized people. I am passionate about storytelling, which is why I hope to work in the world of film, animation, and interactive narrative.

Mission Possible: The Rogue Nation of Industrial Design

Welcome Quartermasters! Dive into the creative world of design to build innovative high tech gadgets for our undercover agents here at the Raleigh Secret Service. 

Our goal is to teach the participants what the key aspects of Industrial Design are and how design affects our day-to-day lives. In this workshop, participants will learn about ‘User Experience’ and ‘Physical Form Design’ by practicing the design process of ‘Ideation’ and ‘Prototyping’. Students will brainstorm gadget ideas based on an undercover agent’s profile and their mission, sketch a number of futuristic concepts and build a prototype of the chosen idea. This is a great workshop for any student who loves to think outside the box, wants hands-on experience with prototyping, and wants to explore their creative side.

  • Grade Range: 6th – 9th Grade
  • Total Seats: 16
  • Cost: $70

Instructors // Anjali Upadhyay and Namita Sabnis

I am Anjali Upadhyay, a graduate student in the second year of studying Master of Industrial Design at NC State University. I have an undergraduate degree in Automobile Engineering. I am a car enthusiast, exploring and learning different aspects of designing from Industrial design. Knowing engineering and design helps keep the balance between a product’s form and function and helps better communicate my ideas with others.
Hey! I am Namita Sabnis. I am pursuing my master in Industrial Design at NC State University. I did my undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering in India. In my last year, I realized that I wanted to focus on how a product would look – the form – and feel – the experience – rather than how the product works, and this led me to divert my career path to design. I love to sketch forms and play around with colors to create visually appealing, well-functioning products.

Light It Up

Any environment can be changed, and a story can be told, by combining a thorough understanding of color theory and good lighting design. This 2-day Media Arts, Design, and Technology workshop will take students on an exploration of color theory and lighting design to create abstracted 3D environments using Blender, a 3D computer graphics software tool. Students will delve deeply into color theory and learn about the relationship between warm and cool color palettes, and then testing this new knowledge they will work to design their own 3D digital environment. Students should master the fundamentals of color relationships, lighting design, and basic design concepts along the way.

Please Note: This workshop is held on two consecutive Saturday’s on April 22 AND 29. Students must be able to attend both sessions.

*This workshop will be held in our Design Lab classroom at the College of Design on NC State University’s campus. Directions, parking, and our classroom location will be shared with registrants within one week of the workshop date.

  • Grade Range: 6th – 8th Grade
  • Total Seats: 15
  • Cost: $85 (covers both Saturdays)

Instructor // Gabrielle Edwards

Hello! My name is Gabrielle and I’m a recent graduate of the Masters of Art and Design Program at NC State University. I studied environmental lighting and color theory, gained a deeper foundation in drawing and design, and experimented with VR and AR while attending NC State. Recently, I have begun pursuing my dream of becoming a full time professional artist in painting and I am very excited to work with students again. In my spare time, I love visiting art museums, nature walks, and playing with my dog Ella. I am very excited to work with arriving creatives to help them reach their full potential and develop their self-confidence in their art and design abilities. 

Prior to Registering, Please Read the Following:

Registration Process and Policies

  • Registration will open on Friday, February 10, at 9:00am.
  • The registration fee for each online workshop ranges from $65 – $85. Payment is due upon registration. Students may register for multiple weekend workshops at a time. All forms and payment must be completed in order for registration to be finalized. 
  • Registration will remain open for each workshop up until 6 calendar days prior to its date (ie. registration will close for a workshop on the Sunday prior to when it’s being held). 
  • Those who have completed registration and payment will receive a confirmation email immediately. And all registrants will receive an email at least 5 business days prior to the start of their workshop with further information on procedures and protocols.
  • Each workshop will take place on Saturdays from 9:00am – 4:00pm with a one hour break at noon. Lunch will be provided for all workshops; our staff and instructor will accompany students to Clark Dining Hall, near our location on campus.
  • Students should arrive between 8:45am – 8:55am and students must leave or be picked up no later than 4:15pm. Drop-off, Pick-up, and Parking information will be shared after registration is complete.
  • Cancellations for In-Person Weekend Workshops: We must receive request for cancellation in writing via email to Cancellations made 10 calendar days prior to a workshop are eligible for a full refund. Cancellations made 5 calendar days prior to a workshop are eligible for a 50% refund. If a student is unable to attend a workshop due to a positive COVID-19 test result, or another illness, registrants can request a full refund OR request to have their program fees donated to our Design Lab outreach funds. If the workshop is cancelled by the Design Lab, full refunds will be issued. Refunds can only be issued by the same means of the original payment. 

If you have any questions, please email

COVID-19 Procedures & Protocols for In-Person Workshops

UPDATE (as of Spring 2022): To participate in an ‘In-Person Weekend Workshop,’ NC State University is no longer requiring registrant’s parents/guardians to complete the online attestation form to attest that their child has either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or has completed a COVID-19 surveillance test within 72 hours of the workshop and received a negative test result from a PCR test.

In accordance with NC State University’s Protect the Pack protocols and procedures, beginning March 7 face coverings will be optional in most campus indoor locations, including classrooms and other instructional settings. Face coverings will only be mandatory where required by state or federal law or regulations, including the following locations: clinical and health care settings; identified research laboratories (this does not include teaching labs); public transportation, including Wolfline buses.

  • Although face coverings will no longer be required in most campus spaces, all university community members are encouraged to continue wearing them indoors, especially in instructional settings. Our instructors and staff will continue to wear face coverings during Weekend Workshops.

For more information, please review the Community Standards that are in place to help keep our NC State community safe from the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we protect the pack.

If you have any questions, please email

Click Here to Register for Weekend Workshops

[Registration Opens on Friday, February 10, 2023 at 9:00am]

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