Purposeful Design Internship – Braden Kimmel
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Purposeful Design Internship – Braden Kimmel

I’m Braden Kimmel, an industrial design major
on track to get my BFA. This summer I’m in Indianapolis working at
Purposeful Design, a non-profit that employs previously homeless men and trains them in
skills of furniture making and woodworking. It’s all about rebuilding lives here. That’s our mission. It’s giving someone a community and it’s a
really great thing to see to have everyone from all aspects of the business come together
in community and prayer. We’re producing furniture that is awesome. It’s beautiful. And we even have clients from all over the
country, including the University of Notre Dame, which is pretty exciting. [“You can just pull chairs from their catalog.”] I’ve assisted the sales team, I’ve assisted
our designer, I’ve taken a lot of marketing responsibilities. In terms of design skills, I’ve talked to
clients working on proposals and work orders, doing client meetings, seeing kind of what
goes on and how you interact with somebody. How you take what their vision is, and make
that a reality. Being able to see how a small business runs
and being able to be a part of that and gain that experience has been really valuable too. Because of my Arts and Letters background,
I have developed great communication skills, I have learned a lot about how to talk to
people, really kind of understand where they are coming from, and what they hope for. How to ask questions, when to listen. Those skills that I’ve learned through design
research have been really beneficial to me here. I applied through the Career Center to get
the Arts and Letters Summer Internship Program funding. It has been really helpful and really allowed
me to do this internship this summer and take part in this awesome organization, so I’m
really thankful for that. There’s so much more experience you can gain
from just working with professionals in the field. Being out there, seeing real things happen,
it’s pretty exciting, and it’s great to be a part of something.

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