Rohina Brinsdon loves exercising her imagination.
It is precisely why she chose to study a Bachelor of Design (Product Design) at Otago Polytechnic.
Rohina, who graduated in December 2018, enjoys fusing a wide range of disciplines — including art, graphic design, research, computer-aided design — while engaging with others’ ideas.
“You have to be a people person. You have to care about people.”
Rohina has been putting her collaborative abilities to the test as a design intern at award-winning Dunedin company Fisher & Paykel Ltd.
She was invited to take part in a project encompassing inclusive design and design for the aging population.
“Fisher & Paykel is a global brand, and well respected in the industry, so the opportunity to work and learn there over this summer is fantastic.
“I have been asked to research inclusive design, which is design that is accessible to people of many different capabilities, such as people with disabilities, the elderly and people who are visually impaired.
“I have looked at inclusive design on the Internet, and I attended a VICTA (Visually Impaired Charitable Trust Aotearoa) meeting where I talked with the members about issues they face due to their low vision.
“It’s good to be prepared, but not too prepared, because it’s hard to let go of preconceived ideas,” says Rohina, who recently began her internship.
Earlier this year, Rohina was invited to take up an internship at Dunedin fireplace company Escea Ltd, where she undertook research, sourced materials, and help form a project brief as well as make models.
“I have learnt a lot in my short time at Escea. It is outstanding to work for a successful local company.
“Escea are very customer-focused and endeavour to be the best, not only in the market but in their designs and manufacturing processes. Their ambition is inspiring.”
The mother-of-three has a background in hospitality, having spent 15 years working in a variety of roles, including server, barista, bartender, breakfast cook and catering chef.
“It’s a fun industry to work in but working nights and weekends were becoming stressful for me, taking time away from my family,” Rohina explains.
“I felt that if I wanted a more meaningful career and more career options then a tertiary education was crucial.
“I did a Certificate in Creative Studies at Otago Polytechnic and that led to me studying a Bachelor of Design (Product Design).”
Rohina’s experiences at Otago Polytechnic have taught her to ask for help, as well as take risks and push herself to improve, learn and grow.
“Ultimately, I want to work in Dunedin as a product designer. Dunedin is my home. It’s where my family is and it’s a great city.”