Dreams of big ideas and startups draw in students at Autodesk’s college night

Hungry college students were treated to free drinks and barbecue as well as insightful information on the tech industry at Autodesk’s College Night event in downtown San Francisco.

Julia Papapietro, an SF State alumna, worked alongside Elena Faddoul, a Berkeley political science major and intern with Autodesk, to organize and cater the event to all its attendants.

“The theme tonight is big ideas and startups,” Papapietro said. “We want the students to look here at the gallery and see their minds get blown.”

The Autodesk gallery is a floor space that is open to the public and features designs and creations that were made by the company’s products. Attendees were seen playing around with 3D printers and were given an opportunity to print out custom keychain plates.

Last Thursday was Autodesk’s second college night, an event created specifically to inspire and educate college students about their software as well as give them an opportunity to socialize with employees and test out numerous products. Three massive LED screens were mounted together to display a bay bridge driving simulator as anxious attendees waited in line to get a chance to drive through the bridge virtually.

Faddoul pitched the idea to Autodesk and worked with Papapietro to make it a reality. She said that the college night was an altered version of their Design Night, an event held every first Thursday where guests can access the gallery to participate in activities and access exhibits, except that the themes are focused primarily on students.

Faddoul walked around the event space talking to numerous guests as well as playing with the 3D printers at the event. Her internship with Autodesk has helped build her skills toward a career in marketing and public relations.

“I’ve applied all my knowledge as well as what I’ve learned from previous internships to make this event happen,” Faddoul said.

Jason Medal-Katz, the curator of the gallery, was seen taking pictures and talking to college students playing with many of the exhibits. He has worked with Papapietro and Faddoul to organize and cater the gallery for the many students who were expected to come.

“We want people to come away excited about design engineering,” Medal-Katz said.

He said that the event will be held for college students for at least once a quarter and that last Thursday’s event was an exception for the company.

“This event is meant to be a lot of fun,” said Medal-Katz as he pointed towards a towering dinosaur made of lego bricks. “We want students to know about Autodesk and let them know that the software is completely free for students.”

According to him, Autodesk software is used by major companies to create movies, gadgets and engineering projects. For example, the Bay Bridge redesign was created with Revit, a software application that’s offered for free for students as well.

Papapietro was seen talking to attendees as well as college students about the theme of the night. She said she was happy to have college students over to help steer them with a little bit of direction regarding their careers.

“It’s really exciting to see that you can take anything about your idea and see it come to life,” Papapietro said.

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