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Penn College Industrial Design Student Excels in Industry Setting

The inquisitive, hard-working student faced a dilemma when pondering college. She possessed considerable artistic talent, yet loved to study people and the reasons behind their actions. Confronted with the career-path choice, she picked psychology over art and enrolled at a community college.

A year later, the student decided to scrap her psychology track and bridge her disparate interests by transferring to Pennsylvania College of Technology as an industrial design major.

If her performance at a recent internship is an accurate gauge, Jasmin Vega made the right decision.

Vega – a Clifton, New Jersey, native, who resides in nearby Woodland Park – excelled interning for IBC Shell Packaging in Lake Success, New York. The company designs, engineers and manufactures packaging, displays and giftware for global brands, including many in the luxury, spirits and beauty sectors.

Jasmin Vega
Jasmin Vega

During her three-month stint, Vega worked with IBC Shell’s design, engineering and sourcing departments, producing a package design that one major brand may incorporate in the future.

“I like to be challenged. I want my work to be exactly the way I imagined it. And if it’s not, I’ll work at it until it is,” Vega said.

Rachel Samaroo, director of design and engineering at IBC Shell, embraced Vega’s can-do attitude and tested her with an assignment for one of the company’s important clients: an ultra-premium vodka brand. The client continually evaluates modern packaging concepts.

“She had to transact all the steps, including conceptual sketching, modeling in CAD and rendering,” Samaroo said. “She had to consider the dimensions of the primary glass package and confirm that it was modeled to scale in order for sourcing and production to determine the program cost.”

The result is a circular design, measuring 14 3/8 inches by 3.5 inches and consisting of a base and lid. Vega integrated a channel design, so users can slide off the front of the base to display the 13.75-inch vodka bottle, which would be removed from the top of the package.

“My biggest challenge was figuring out exactly how the packaging would work,” Vega said. “Rachel gave me some examples to look at for inspiration. It’s a tall product, and I liked the idea of the bottle coming out of the top of the package rather than opening the package like a book.”

“Her design is reputable,” Samaroo said. “She did three projects in total for us and all of them were well-founded. Jasmin thought about them strategically. She takes her work seriously, which is impressive.”

Vega credits her Penn College education and her father, Luis, for putting her in a position to tackle her duties at IBC Shell. Luis encouraged her to switch from psychology to industrial design, and the college provided the technical background to excel in her new field.

“My dad pulled me aside and told me that, rather than major in psychology, I should do something with design since I was into art since I was little,” said Vega, who began taking accelerated art classes in third grade.

Luis intimately knows the varied career possibilities for designers. He is vice president of Parabit Systems Inc. on Long Island, which designs and manufactures self-service kiosks and digital signage for clients.

“He started at the bottom of the company and grew with it,” Vega said. “He showed me what industrial design is and how it relates to psychology. You have to work with people and consider lots of different characteristics when designing.”

“Industrial design combines elements of psychology and art,” said Thomas E. Ask, professor of industrial design at Penn College. “We transform ideas into practical designs for products that are optimized and customized for human use. To understand how people will use what we are designing, we need to appreciate what makes them tick. It’s also important to have the ability to draw and sculpt in different media.”

In other words, it’s the perfect marriage of interests for Vega, who discovered Penn College on a list of industrial design schools compiled by her father. After one visit, the special-mission affiliate of Penn State was her top choice.

“I fell in love with Penn College,” Vega said. “I wanted a smaller school. I wanted to know my classmates and teachers.”

According to Ask, the growing major’s limited class size replicates the small-team dynamic that students will experience in industry. “Collaboration and bouncing ideas off of each other is a hallmark of the field.”

Vega embraced the hands-on program and its challenging classes, ranging from 2-D and 3-D design to model making to ergonomics and kinesiology. She has been a Dean’s List student and anticipates graduating with her industrial design bachelor’s degree in May 2018.

“Jasmin is very mature and poised,” Ask said. “She’s gifted in both drawing and sculpting and works well with a variety of media. She is very innovative and can create beautiful designs.”

Vega relied on those attributes for her vodka package design. In addition to the circular shape and removable front, Vega’s proposal calls for the plastic package to be manufactured via injection molding.

“What’s great about her piece is that it’s plastic,” Samaroo said. “It’s meant to be reusable. After the bottle has been removed, there are many ways to repurpose the package at home. You could be quite creative with it.

“It was great to see that she considered the production process when designing it.

She considered all criteria that we follow, from ideation, design and production to consumer acceptance.”

Manufacturing Vega’s design is a distinct possibility.

“Right now, clients in this sector appear to be moving in the direction of larger offerings at club store accounts. That, of course, may change. Jasmin designed a single-pack box. If the client requests this design format, we will pitch her design to them. We have it ready to go,” Samaroo said.

Vega admits it would be “awesome” for the design to be selected, yet remains most grateful for the firsthand experience at IBC Shell and the affirmation it provided for her rewarding career choice of industrial design.

“You put lots of hours into a project. You keep working and working and you think you’re going crazy,” she said. “At the end of it all, you look at your finished project and you’re like, ‘I did that.’ That’s the best feeling.”

For more on the industrial design major and other programs offered by Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development. Email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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