Welcome First-Year Students!

Welcome Class of 2021!! We are excited to have you here and have a great year planned!

You are the largest incoming industrial design class ever at Georgia Tech with 83 students, compared with 55 students last year, a 50 percent increase. You are among nearly 500 students pursing undergrad and grad degrees and ID minors.

This year, our new curriculum extends to first- and second-year students, and is taught by inspiring new faculty eager to share their real-world experience. And you'll love the new studio view of the Atlanta skyline.

Opportunities abound for building your design network in the School, at Georgia Tech, and in Atlanta. Don’t be shy about approaching your upper-class fellow students and faculty who are aligned with your interest (see our people page), and be sure to join the School's student chapter of IDSA.

To help you get started, we have asked a few returning undergrads to introduce themselves and give a bit of advice. Read on!

Hareen Godthi, Senior specializing in user experience and interaction design

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?
I'm from Johns Creek, Georgia, and attended Northview High School.

What is your favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech?
I've spent many days (and nights) in studio before a deadline. While that doesn't necessarily sound like fun, there's almost always other people around the College of Design which creates a real sense of camaraderie and a wonderfully collaborative culture. Despite how hard everyone is working, people want to help each other and learn from each other. Plus, sometimes a late night studio sing-along is what you really need to get over a creative block.

What is one brief bit of advice you have for first-year students?
Stop learning by consuming. Start learning by creating.

Lucy Kates, Sophomore

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?
Cheltenham, a suburb of Philadelphia. I attended Cheltenham High school.

What is your favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech?
My favorite thing about Georgia Tech is all of the opportunities and connections available to us. Georgia Tech provides us with so many cool and fun opportunities that diversify our education.

What is one brief bit of advice you have for first-year students?
Networking is so so important! Reach out to teachers, classmates, upperclassmen, alum etc., because connections and networking get jobs.

Kent Kirtland IV, Sophomore

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?
I was born near Atlanta, but was raised in Louisiana. I eventually moved back to Georgia and attended North Forsyth High School.

What is your favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech?
My favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech is the team of people who genuinely have your interests at heart and are here to help you in whatever way they can. 

What is one brief bit of advice you have for first-year students?
Plan out every part of a project, and allow twice as much time for each step, because that's how much time you really need.

Francis Lin, Sophomore

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?
I was born in LA but I lived in Shenzhen, China, for most of my life, and I attended an international school in China called QSI International School of Shenzhen.

What is your favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech?
The thing I liked most of all is perhaps the new freshman program for industrial design students. My class was, I believe, the first to experience the new ID curriculum where instead of having a common first year with architecture students, we worked on very ID-related projects as well as really helpful classes like graphic design and sketching and modeling. Getting to work with a range of different prototyping and manufacturing methods gave me a much more profound understanding of the major than I otherwise would.

What is one brief bit of advice you have for first-year students?
As for my advice for newcomers, while it's cliché, I would say manage your time well. Always read the syllabus/assignment sheet beforehand and understand what needs to be done for every project. Do things as early as possible even if the professor is not on your back. NEVER try to squeeze in projects the day before it is due (especially if you are working with things like 3D printing or laser cutting) because you can bet there will be 16 different people trying to do the same and things get very inefficient.

Joshua Madwed, Junior in interactive studio

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?
I'm from Trumbull, Connecticut, and went to Trumbull High School.

What is your favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech?
My favorite part of Tech is access. Being in Atlanta and going to Tech provides so much access to anything you need. I love it. 

What is one brief bit of advice you have for first-year students?
The advice I'd give would be to be open to everything. Don't close any doors. It's always good to have a direction, but don't let your vision of the future stop you from exploring different options. No one really knows what they wanna do for the rest of their life at 18 and they shouldn't.

Uyen My "Cindy" Tran, Sophomore

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?
I was born in My Tho, Vietnam, but I moved to Lilburn, Georgia, around the age of four. I attended Meadowcreek High School.

What is your favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech?
My favorite aspect of Georgia Tech is the learning environment. Everyone is eager to learn and the classroom environment is engaging!

What is one brief bit of advice you have for first-year students?
My first-year of Industrial Design showed me the importance of prioritizing and time management. There is an endless list of assignments and projects that first-years have to manage especially since first-years are taking their core classes along with ID courses. I would section out my day by what needs to be done (sketches, studying, essays, etc.) even if they are due 1-2 weeks later. A little progress goes a long way to make sure none of the work piles up.

My last bit of advice is to get enough rest!

Julia Vorpahl, Senior specializing in wellness/medical design

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?
I am from the North Georgia mountains and I attended Gilmer High school. Go bobcats.

What is your favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech?
My favorite thing about being at Tech (second only to the Atlanta Food Trucks, of course) is all of the international ties and opportunities that the school and staff provide. All of the professors have such vast amounts of experience and connections all over the world, and they all seem extremely willing to share their knowledge and help get us students where we want to go.

What is one brief bit of advice you have for first-year students?
My advice to first-year students is to find something you absolutely love in every project that you work on. The best projects will be the ones that you are eager to fiddle over and excited to share. That kind of passion only stems from a love of what you’re creating. Designs don’t lie and if you go into a project despising it, it will show in your work.

Matt Ward, Senior specializing in UX design

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?
I’m from Conyers, Ga. It’s thirty minutes east of Atlanta. I attended Rockdale County High School.

What is your favorite thing about being at Georgia Tech?
It is definitely the diversity. I’ve met and interacted with such a wide range of people from all over the world, and I love talking to people. You can learn really interesting things about the people around you.

What is one brief bit of advice you have for first-year students?
Get feedback as much as you can and from as many people as you can. Your work gets better each time.