Several years ago, while she was still in high school, Amanda Crawford [ID’18] attended NC State’s Design Lab for K-12 Education and discovered her passion. “I knew nothing about industrial design and realized through this experience how much I loved it,” she says. Crawford has always been interested in fine art and is now pursuing a degree in industrial design with a minor in nonprofit studies after transferring to State with an associate’s degree. “I came to Design Camp on a scholarship and would not have been able to attend without it,” she adds.
And she’s back at the College of Design thanks to a Caldwell Fellowship and the Stephen H. Robertson Endowed Scholarship in Industrial Design (formerly the Furniture Curriculum Excellence). Crawford is from a single-parent family and had her doubts about completing higher education.
“I’m a first-generation college student, and I wasn’t sure how I could afford to go to college. These scholarships mean so much to me. They allow me to do what I want and not worry so much about money or getting a job. It’s been really great, and I’m so appreciative.”
Crawford appreciates the curriculum, the scale, and the vast opportunities that she is afforded here. “I like the size of the College; it feels like a genuine family in so many ways. This is an experience that I wouldn’t have gotten at other design colleges. It feels like home, and the professors are excellent. The quality of instruction is valuable and top-notch. It’s nice to be on a large campus with a variety of unique perspectives.”
She is active in several student-run programs as Treasurer of Design Council and Vice President of IDSA (NCSU Chapter). “It’s important to me to be involved—the College and the University have done so much for me, I think it’s essential to give back and get involved and hopefully get others involved too,” she says emphatically.
As a Caldwell Fellow, Crawford is among an impressive group of individuals who are committed to bettering both the university and the world. “The Caldwell fellows are great and are a rich and diverse community. To see all these people from different backgrounds and interests but our core values are our strength—of working for the greater good, enhancing leadership, and social change—is awesome.”
As part of the Fellowship, recipients are provided an experiential learning stipend to use toward several unique travel experiences. She visited San Francisco, CA, over the summer. “We [Fellows] got to meet some NC State alumni who work at places such as Google, eBay, and other various startups. There was a Senior-level executive who works at Apple, and we got to tour the facility. Talking with these alumni was an amazing experience. We spoke with engineers and UX designers, and I realized that they are just everyday people, and I can do this [too].”
The other half of her stipend was spent on study abroad in Prague this past summer. “That was really awesome—a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I took a furniture design class and a transportation design studio that were taught by professionals in the industry who also have their own design firms and work with the industry. My transportation design professor was the head of interior design for Skoda Auto.
“It was really interesting to get to travel and speak with these professors and designers who live there—to get their different perspectives and culture and design influence.”
Her advice to anyone who may be concerned about how to pay for college is simple: “Just go for it—give it a shot. I certainly didn’t know if I was going to be able to afford it. Try it, apply, and see what you can get. You might be surprised by the support that you receive.”