02/10/20 Generation NEXT Showcases Alumni’s Non-Traditional Career Paths
Four years ago, when associate professor Alvin Huang read a Forbes magazine article that claimed millennials were the entrepreneurial generation, he was inspired with an idea: Why not encourage his own architecture students to become entrepreneurs as well? Huang’s insight led to the creation of Generation NEXT, an annual event that celebrates recent alumni of the USC School of Architecture and their independent design work. The event has evolved into an anticipated component of the School’s annual spring Career Week. It shows students that they, too, can follow a path less traveled.
"Generation NEXT is an event that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the millennial generation by recognizing the accomplishments of our recent alumni as independent contributors to the world of design,” explained Huang. "The importance of this event highlights the value of the education in design thinking that our students receive, and provides inspiration for our students by providing examples of individuals who were once in the same position as themselves who have gone on not only to succeed in applying their design abilities but also to carve independent career paths."
This unique event features a curated cohort of USC School of Architecture graduates from the year 2000 or later who have had success with independent practice or projects. Career topics span an array of fields that are not exclusive to architecture, including fashion, film, graphic design, social justice, and technology. The evening kicks off with 10 fast-paced, engaging alumni presentations followed by an exhibition of the work presented and a chance for current students to mingle with USC Architecture alumni.
"Generation NEXT is an event that not only celebrates the accomplishments of young alumni from the USC School of Architecture but the value of an architectural education,” added USC Architecture lecturer and alumnus Myrna Ayoub, who, along with Huang and lecturer Erin Cuevas, coordinates the annual event. “We hope that the event helps students recognize that the skills they learn at USC can expand into many design fields. Yes, an architectural education can lead you on a traditional path to practice the discipline of architecture, but there are also many diverse opportunities.”
A former participant herself, Ayoub noted that she “found it challenging but valuable to synthesize my work and trajectory of the past 10 years. It was an amazing opportunity to reflect and share my research and design work with fellow alumni, colleagues, and the USC community."
Cuevas, who is also an alumnus and former presenter, agreed with Ayoub. “Presenting at Generation NEXT gave me a platform to speak clearly about my ideas in a public forum for the first time since starting my own practice,” she said. “Now, as a faculty contributing to the event, our team looks forward to continuing to provide this opportunity to recent self-established alumni from various backgrounds and interests in design. The event consistently brings a lot of energy and serves as an exciting reunion for the USC School of Architecture community.”
This year’s Generation NEXT will occur on Wednesday, March 25, and is free and open to the public. RSVP here.
For alumni interested in participating in this year’s event, visit https://arch.usc.edu/events/usc-architecture-generation-next-2020.