Minh Lai received her Bachelor of Interior Design from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. After one year as an Interior Designer, she realized her interests were in lighting design, and returned to school where she earned a Master of Professional Studies in Lighting Design in 2017. While pursuing her degree, Minh was presented with the Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievements in her program. Her project in Luminaire Design also received an honorable mention at the Illuminating Engineering Society student design competition. Minh has since embarked on her new career as a lighting designer for Brandston Partnership Inc. (BPI), an award winning architectural lighting design firm that has completed several prestigious projects around the globe.
Where are you now and what kind of work/projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working at Brandston Partnership Inc., in New York City. My recent projects include working in design on multiple tower lighting developments in Asia along with a senior designer. I’m being exposed to something new daily and I find my new career in lighting design very satisfying and rewarding.
How did NYSID prepare you for where you are today?
NYSID has prepared me with specific skills that they knew would be beneficial in the work world. When I interviewed for jobs, my potential employers were very impressed with my skills and portfolio. My education at NYSID has definitely played a key role in helping me land my ideal job. I take on projects with confidence and comfort because of the knowledge obtained in my program.
What career advice do you have for current students? What is critical for the future professional?
Besides doing well in the class, I would advise current students to participate in design competitions and industry events. It is important to learn about the different companies and to get an idea of where you would like to work post-graduation. I was able to learn more about BPI, where I now work, because I was invited by a professor to their 50th anniversary party.
Who Influenced Your Studies at NYSID?
I was influenced by the whole group of MPS-L professors at NYSID. They are all practicing lighting designers with many years of experience and different perspectives in design. I’m inspired by their work and aspire to become a successful designer like them. They are the bridge that connected my classmates and I into the industry when we were at the beginning of our careers. My instructors were very supportive and they truly want their students to succeed. Even after my graduation, they are still willing to help when I reach out for career advice.