Having direct access to students’ talent and skills is a huge part of why Airbus Americas moved to the Wichita State University campus two years ago. One of those opportunities for collaboration played out perfectly this winter when Airbus officials in the research and technology department needed a last-minute artistic rendering for an airplane seat under development.
“Normally this wouldn’t be possible since we would have to contract with an artist, but with our proximity to WSU we decided to reach out to see what was possible,” says Samantha Stinson, Airbus marketing specialist and a WSU MBA student.
Within 12 hours, Shocker Studios Director Justin Rorabaugh had connected Airbus with Daniela “Dany” Diaz-Sustaita, a junior in the College of Fine Arts. After signing a non-disclosure agreement, she quickly produced three designs that demonstrated the seat Airbus was developing.
And she did it during finals week.
“The response we received was incredible,” says Glenn Ramos, senior engineer, A350 Seats Engineering. “The sketches that were provided to us really put everything together. This coordination clearly showed what can be done when academia and industry join forces.”
Dawn Isometsa, a design engineering intern at Airbus and a mechanical engineering junior, is excited for more opportunities to work with WSU in the future.
“The collaboration between Airbus and Wichita State University turned out to be an extraordinarily positive experience for all of us,” Isometsa says. “Dany brought exceptional motivation and positivity to the project. I could call her to tweak something on the rendering and she would get it back to us that same day.”
Dany says she had never designed anything like this before and that becoming completely in tune with Airbus’ vision was a challenge. Thankfully, it was just the kind of challenge she thrives on.
“The short time frame affected the project very little since I work better under a deadline,” she says. “I tend to do better under pressure.”
Working on a real-life project and tight deadline gave Dany the exact kind of experience she needs to better prepare for her future career. And it will look great on her resume.
“This definitely helped me get a perspective of what is to come in the future,” she says. “As an animation major, it was great to get a chance to step away from programs like Maya and After Effects to start drawing traditionally again. This makes me remember that I have a wide variety of skills that can help me in my career and keep my options open.”
Stinson says that while Airbus has utilized WSU interns since locating on campus, this has opened Airbus officials’ eyes to the additional collaboration possibilities they have in their backyard.
“This showed us the true opportunities that come out of an applied learning university like WSU,” she says.