ArtCenter Continues Tradition of Corporate Collaboration with Infiniti Internship

Published : Saturday, February 2, 2019 | 6:41 AM

Regina Dowling-Jones, ArtCenter's vice president of strategic partnerships

A student from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena will be chosen to work as an intern following a collaboration between the school and carmaker Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

The yet-to-be-chosen student will work at Infiniti’s Global Design Center in Kanagawa, Japan on the creation of a future sports utility vehicle.

The program is led by Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president, global design, Nissan Motor Co., and Karim Habib, executive design director, Infinity.

Habib, not coincidentally, is an ArtCenter alumnus.

Corporate engagement comes through ArtCenter’s educational partnership department, which is overseen by Regina Dowling-Jones, the school’s vice president of strategic partnerships.

It was the automaker that reached out to ArtCenter on this particular program.

“In the case of Infiniti, we have a long relationship,” said Dowling-Jones. “There are alumni involved at the company that already have a relationship with the college, so that they are pretty in-tune with our transportation design chair, Stewart Reed, and our executive director of undergraduate transportation design, Jay Sanders.”

The collaboration has been done with Nissan in the past. This is the first time that ArtCenter has collaborated with Infinity, which is Nissan’s luxury vehicle division.

Dowling-Jones explained that, historically, ArtCenter was founded upon the idea, concept, and mission of bringing real world challenges to students. This direct, classroom interaction with industry is part of the upper-term curriculum.

“It’s what ArtCenter is known for,” said Dowling-Jones. “Companies and students realize that we provide them with the opportunity to work on real world design challenges in the classroom.”

This particular project was created and embedded within an existing transportation design course, which takes place over a term of 14 weeks.

Aspiring designers are required to do internships while at ArtCenter, “so it’s a big win for our students to have the unique opportunity provided by a sponsor and it’s the perfect way for sponsors to really get to know them,” said Dowling-Jones.

Following the 14-week term, in April, final presentations by students will made. “It won’t be until the sponsor actually sees the final deliverables the students create before a decision is made,” Dowling-Jones.

A second intern will be chosen from the College for Creative Studies in Michigan.

“The collaboration with the ArtCenter College of Design and College for Creative Studies comes at the perfect time for Infinity,” said Albaisa in a company statement. “I cannot be more honored to have the opportunity to work with future talent as they enter the beginning phases of their automotive design career.”

Sponsors, in ArtCenter parlance, are corporate partners drawn from a variety of industries. They fund 14-week courses, or three-day “Design Storm” workshops, where students and professionals mix it up in the quest for new market opportunities and design innovations.

Engagement with industry is part of ArtCenter’s DNA, with hundreds of sponsorships having enriched the college’s classroom studios since its inception in 1930.

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