A recipient of the 2023 U40 Alumni Leader Award, Patrick Puckett has been a longstanding advocate for the University of Minnesota, the College of Design, and the important connections design students make that lead to future career success. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Puckett carved out a path in user experience (UX) design. In this interview, Puckett talks about his current work as an experience designer, the skills it takes to be successful in the field, and shares advice for current design students.
Max Dickson (he/him) earned a Master of Landscape Architecture and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota in 2019. After graduation, Dickson moved to Philadelphia to work with OLIN, an internationally awarded landscape architecture and urban design firm. At OLIN, Dickson’s work has focused on district-scale urban spaces, and leading the emergent research initiative through OLIN Labs called PrideScapes, an exploration of LGBTQ+ landscapes and people within the field of landscape architecture.
Sara Lopez (BS ’12, Apparel Design) wants you to stop and think about your clothing. Profiled in outlets like Vogue, Elle, and W Magazine, Lopez's work considers clothing's purpose in society and what its modern use says about our world. Her label, A--Company, deconstructs one piece of clothing at a time through the lens of critical theory and queer studies to create something entirely new. In this interview, Lopez talks about the experiences that shaped her work, her design approach, and shares advice for current design students.
It wasn’t until he became a TA during graduate school that Professor Emeritus John Koepke realized he enjoyed teaching as much as working in a design firm. After hearing about an open position at the University of Minnesota, Koepke gave “the best interview of his life” and became Department of Landscape Architecture Head. During his time, Koepke helped the department become internationally ranked and built long-term connections with communities across Minnesota. In this interview, Koepke discusses his favorite parts about teaching, the challenges he faced, and gives advice to design professionals and academics.
A desire to think critically and creatively put Professor Emerita Marilyn DeLong on the path to a career in higher education. Serving as associate dean before, during, and after the creation of the College of Design, DeLong helped shape the college’s graduate education programs. Her skill for seeing connections and her passion for helping women earn their Ph.D. degrees have made her a highly regarded and celebrated educator and mentor. In this interview, DeLong talks about her career, her future plans, and her advice for design academics and professionals.
Professor Emerita Becky Yust didn’t intend to pursue a career in academia. Originally set on becoming an interior designer, the advice and support she received from professors led her to pursue a career as an educator. During her time in higher education, Yust has served as a professor, program chair, department head, and even the College of Design’s interim dean. Over the course of her career, she’s mentored countless students, faculty members, and staff, helping them to find their own paths. After almost five decades of service, Yust celebrated her last semester at the University of Minnesota (UMN) in May 2022. In this interview, she reflects on her career, the challenges she faced, and shares advice for academics and designers.
Laura Sanden Cabo (M.Arch ‘83), AIA, creates Disney magic on the seas. As a portfolio creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, Cabo is entrusted with leading the teams that envision and execute the creative development of almost everything under the Disney Cruise Line umbrella. In our latest alumni interview, Cabo talks about applying her architecture skills to a non-traditional career and what designers can bring to the table at any company.
When the COVID-19 pandemic set in and drove more social interaction online, virtual reality (VR) platforms, like VRchat or SecondLife, exploded in popularity. These virtual environments allow users to make friends, play games, and participate in a virtual economy. For Claire Lumen (BS ‘20, Apparel Design), this technology provides more than just a social outlet. As a student, VR shaped her academic focus and played a pivotal role in her journey as a trans woman. Now in her professional life, VR continues to shape how Lumen applies her apparel design skills to the virtual world.
What started as a part-time job for Juan Andrés Rujana (BS ‘20, Product Design) turned into an opportunity to grow, experiment, and make an impact supporting refugees as Epimonía’s design director. Juan Rujana talks about his work with Epimonía, a refugee-founded fashion label, and how his experiences in the Product Design program have impacted his career thus far in our latest alumni spotlight.
On June 8, 2020, the College of Design named Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, as the new head of the School of Architecture. Her career in architecture is driven by a lifelong love for art, buildings, and design in general as well as childhood summers spent with her artist aunt in Chicago. In our interview, Yoos shares her visions for the school, the new semester, and the future of the profession.