UF College of Design, Construction & Planning

Student Profile – Jae Hwa Lee - Published on August 14, 2017

Interior Design Ph.D. student Jae Hwa Lee, left, and DCP Associate Dean Margaret Portillo pose in front of Lee’s award winning presentation at the 2017 IDEC Conference in Chicago, which also recognized Portillo’s mentorship.

Interior Design Ph.D. student Jae Hwa Lee recently won the JID Graduate Scholar Award under the direction of DCP Associate Dean Margaret Portillo at the 2017 Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) Conference in Chicago. She recently spoke with DCP Communications to talk about her time so far as a student in the college.

What have you valued most about your time at the College of Design, Construction and Planning?
I would like to comment on the most valuable people that I have met here. From the beginning of my Ph.D. journey, I have never felt I got lost or I was wrong. Even though many challenges were painful, I was able to enjoy it with a great support of the advisors and friends. My supervisor and all faculty members as well as graduate students in my department are always open to give invaluable advice for me and to collaborate with. It has been a great pleasure to meet extremely supportive, enthusiastic, warm and friendly people here. I hope that I could be the same for others as they encouraged me.

What class have you enjoyed the most so far at DCP?
The program offered a strong foundation in design research which has expanded my knowledge of boundaries and insights into theories of creativity and design problems. I enjoyed DCP’s core classes as they invite interdisciplinary students and professors and channel diverse perspectives. I have also taken a Graduate Seminar on Creativity under the direction of Dr. Margaret Portillo from my home department. Throughout the semester, we studied theories and contemporary research of creativity, discussed current creative cases, myths and further steps to cultivate creativity, and tried out creative habits. This class not only let me rethink my life-long career interests in creative design process but also inspired my research on creative confidence.

What will you take away from your time here at DCP?
During my time at DCP from 2013, I have had various opportunities to work closely with many faculty members and both graduate and undergraduate students, as a teaching assistant, a colleague, a mentor/mentee and a friend. Working in such an intimate and interdisciplinary community at DCP, I learned and really enjoyed developing strong communication skills from the people I’ve met here. I think the most valuable lesson I learned is keeping a balance between caring for others and pushing forward, being flexible and hardworking, and being deliberate and being open-minded.