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Q & A for Studio Professors Provides Insight to PCIF Programs

During the 2014 PCI Convention, the PCI Foundation hosted an education session featuring all the current grantees from our programs. After professors gave an overview on each program, the audience was invited to ask questions. 

Question From Doug Sutton: How is the studio being received by the students? Is it popular?

Thomas Gentry, UNCC

For our studio, we have a lottery process. We are always over subscribed. We are always the number one choice at UNC Charlotte.

I find in our school that students tend to gravitate to either design or technical side. The students who are designer oriented tend to gravitate toward certain members of faculty. And one of the things I’ve seen with the PCI studio, because it is so hands on and there is a lot of good pragmatic information, we’ll see some of those design-side students get detoured into the precast studio then go back to the design track. I think that is telling.

Mikhail Gershfeld, CalPoly

For our studio, at least on the engineering side, I won’t let anybody in without an interview - they know they have to go through that interview process. And it is not based on their grades. It is basically to make them aware of what this studio looks like because for our students, this studio is a first time experience for them. So when they walk in on the first day of class it is kind of a shock because they walk in and there is no lecture.

What are we supposed to do? Usually we just sit and listen. So for this experience they have big eyes, are scared. But then they  catch on and get pretty excited and soon you no longer have to drag them, but they are moving forward and you are behind them.

Doug Noble, USC

The studio that Karen and I do is a fourth year studio. It is the comprehensive studio that the NAV people require that has all of the accreditation requires rolled into it. In that level, we usually have about 100 students and last year 85 of them chose our studio first. Now, we’re good, and it may partly be Joshua Tree, it’s hard to know but I think there is a pretty powerful draw to the precast studio. The students know there is a lot of outside participation in the studio.

The professors in the studio have a lot to give, but we get so much in concrete detail from Doug Mooradian coming into the studio.

Karen Kensek, USC

And also, we get a lot of professionals coming in. Groups of two or three students are matched up with a professional. They are very excited to see what the students are doing with concrete. And some of them come with a lot of background in precast, but others come in and say “what on earth are you guys doing with this material?” I think it also gets the professionals very excited about what is going on as well as the students. 

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