Student Portfolio Workshop Session 1 – Young Professional Panel

Kickstart your portfolio development with Session 1 of this year’s San Francisco City Center Student Portfolio Workshop. During this virtual session we will discuss steps to developing an excellent portfolio and how to use it as a tool on your job search journey. We will hear firsthand from recent graduates working in the design industry and their journey from student to professional.


Our philanthropic partner, La Casa de las Madres, will also introduce an exciting creative student challenge coming this summer (an amazing add to your professional portfolio!)


Whether you have a portfolio started or not, this session is suited for students at all levels. If you’re are ready to receive feedback from design professionals consider also registering for the in-person Session 2 separately.


Thank you to our sponsors for this event!



Please contact



Saturday, June 11 2022






IIDA Northern CA Chapter



Following the format from last year’s Portfolio Workshop, we broke down this year’s student event into two sessions. Session 1 was virtual and aimed to be a casual but informative event with a panel discussion, while Session 2* would focus on an in-person professional review of student portfolios.

With Session 1, our goal was to create a casual conversation amongst students and our young panel of professionals.

We kicked-off the virtual event with fun icebreakers. Attendees were asked to find an object in their near proximity that was their favorite color, and an object that fit in the palm of their hand. This helped students feel connected and more comfortable being on camera, smiles and chat messaged were flowing! Next, we heard from Katharine Berg from Casa De Las Madres – our philanthropic partner for 2022. She so eloquently painted a picture of their mission and together we discussed San Francisco City Center’s 2022 goals to support it. This event allowed our City Center to leverage the incoming young professionals of our industry who will continue to grow closer to Casa De Las Madres and the many ways we can support them.

For our panel discussion we invited three amazing young designers with experience ranging from 1-5 years. These designers had distinct professional backgrounds and design journeys.

Jocelyn Quiroz, designer at RoseBernard Studio, shared select slides from her portfolio with projects from her student & professional career. She shared her perspective regarding the visual imagery she selects to best tell the story of each project, emphasizing the importance of showing hand sketches and concept work. This better allows the review to understand her process and not just the finished work. Being a recent graduate herself, her work and insights on how to go about starting a portfolio for job hunting resonated with the students.

Nicole Sharma, intermediate designer at Gensler San Francisco, showcased her student portfolio from a few years back and talked about the importance of clear graphics and organized work. As part of her select projects she included personal work and showed a different dimension to her personality and design thought process. She emphasized the importance of allowing the interview to be an opportunity where a potential employer can get to know the multiple layers of one’s design point of view, not just one’s curriculum and professional project work.

Payal Thakkar, junior designer at HGA San Jose, shared her unique journey of design as a second career and her transition into a new industry. She spoke about the multidimensional aspect of her role within the office as she is also the office’s material librarian. She also highlighted her experience as a mentee through IIDA’s mentorship program and how she leveraged that connection to expand her professional network and get her portfolio reviewed.

Students flooded the chat with heart eye emojis and questions as the session’s panel discussion progressed, questions which mediator Samantha Lewis & Soumya Yain sprinkled throughout the session. A formal Q&A was held at the end. We opened the floor for the students and had an energetic discussion that covered various topics such as software skills, portfolio format, and cultural experiences within the office. The conversation was so engaging that we went over our designated time but students reported taking away valuable insights from the virtual session and a better understanding of the what awaits their student to professional transition.

*Session 2 was post-poned to October 15, 2022 with a new event name “Career Day” check out the this eventbrite link for more details. You won’t want to miss it!