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Designing his destiny, meet Joey Khamis

Joey Khamis is a senior from Indianapolis studying Industrial design. He was able to land an internship at Legrand through the connections of one of his professors. This past summer Joey moved to the company headquarters in Connecticut where he designed home electronics and other commercial products. Because of his great experience, Joey encourages all students to form close relationships with professors in their majors and to take advantage of their vast professional network.

Q: What attracted you to the company/position?

A: Having the opportunity to help design products for a global company is what attracted me. The designers I worked with have designed a lot of products that have made it to shelves around the world. I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about their processes. Another reason I chose to work at Legrand was the chance to experience a different part of the country. Living on the east coast for a summer was an eventful experience and it led me to make a lot of new connections.

Q: Can you tell me a little about what your overall experience was like working there and what your typical day was like?

A: I had a very diverse experience working for Legrand. I took part in designing different commercial and home electronics. As a design intern I worked alongside other designers and engineers at various stages of the design process. For some projects I was sketching out hundreds of ideas on the walls of the studio, and for others I was helping refine aesthetics of 3D models on the computer.

My favorite part was that there wasn’t really a “typical” day, which was refreshing. I would show up to work and take part in several different projects and meet with other coworkers throughout the day. Designers do a lot of different things to develop an idea into a finished product. For example, for my individual student project I spent the first several weeks researching design trends, sketching and writing ideas out on post-it notes. As the summer went on I collaborated with other designers to help refine the idea into a model and then a final design direction.

Q: Do you feel that your past internships helped prepare you for this one? If so how?

A: This was actually the first design internship I’ve ever had. However, I believe this summer I learned so much more than I did in the past couple years that I wouldn’t have learned from classes. It was great being able to refine my skills and learn about design for 8 hours a day and not feel like I was working. It was comforting to have the flexibility of just talking with my coworkers about their experiences. They created an environment for me to learn and ask a lot of questions.

Q: What did this job teach you about yourself?

A: My job taught me that I know what I want to do for a living. It helped me confirm that I want to be a designer or part of a design team for the rest of my life. Although I ideally want to pursue a career as a footwear designer, I will always be happy if I’m working with other creative and driven designers. I learned that the satisfaction of my job comes from learning from people’s problems and designing a better experience for the customer.

Q: Where do you see yourself working post-graduation?

A: I do not have any plans as of now, however, after I graduate I see myself being a footwear designer for an athletic brand such as New Balance or Under Armour. This past summer I made some excellent connections with these companies and am working on landing a job there. Footwear design sounds nothing like designing home electronics like I did at Legrand, but the knowledge of the design process is what I can carry over to a passion of mine.

Q: How do you feel that your education at Purdue helped you while working for this company?

A: The Industrial Design program at Purdue has definitely given me a solid foundation of skills that I need as a designer. Passing a strict portfolio review just to get into the major surrounded me with talented and passionate design students. The structure of the classroom/studio is similar to that of a professional environment. We each have our own projects and we are always sharing ideas and getting opinions from each other. To an extent it has a similar dynamic to that of the professional world of design.

Q: What career readiness tools has Purdue provided you with?

A: When I first wanted to start building a resume and reaching out to companies I went to the CCO website. I learned about CCO from one of my freshmen year courses and used it to build a foundation of my resume and online presence (LinkedIn). Also, having professors that want to help you land a job has helped me a lot. Many people would be surprised at the amount of connections professors can get you. I’ve gotten to know mine pretty well and a mutual connection landed me an internship at Legrand.

Q: What career advice would you give to underclassmen?

A: Start to get to know your professors in you major specific courses because chances are they may introduce you to a future employer. If you have an opportunity to work for a company you really want to work for that isn’t close to home, take it. I moved out of Indiana to Connecticut for the first time and it was one of my greatest summer experiences. Limiting your job search will only limit your potential to find your dream job.

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