Wilson College Alumna Victoria Rind ‘17 Lights Up the Field of Textile Engineering
by Cameron Walker
Victoria Rind came to NC State to study the intersection of her two passions: fashion and electrical engineering. Now, she is spending her first few months post-graduation in New York City, working on a pioneer project to create future-facing textiles. The 2017 Textile Engineering graduate is currently a Smart Textiles research fellow with the TEK-TILES Summer Sprint project at the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator; the program’s goal is to create 30 knit fabric swatches incorporating new materials like conductive yarns and nanofibers.
“We are essentially creating a library of different smart textile knit or woven structures that designers can then pick from to add to their clothing line,” she said. “The average day consists so far of either attending a workshop on sensors or textiles by an industry professional or doing a ‘deep dive’ into a concept of smart textiles. Last Friday, we were put in groups and researched different materials we could order to add to the smart textiles library.”
The project wraps up in August, when Rind will head west to Portland, Ore., for a six month post-graduate research and development internship with the Adidas material/textile innovation Future Team.
“The Adidas Future Team has created, among other things, 3D printed shoes, shoes made of synthetic spider silk and shoes made from recycled ocean plastic,” she said.
As an undergraduate, Rind was a 3D printing and emerging technology liaison for Makerspace, a hands-on learning environment in the D.H. Hill Library where students, faculty and staff explore cutting edge equipment, tools and resources. She helped develop the program, teaching electronic textiles and microprocessing workshops and writing student and staff user guides for 3D printing equipment. She spent the summer of 2016 interning in Thailand at Yeh Group Tong-Siang, a leading Asian textile manufacturer. The previous school year, she worked as an undergraduate researcher with the Nano-EXtended Textiles research group in the Wilson College of Textiles, where she helped a designer to create light-up apparel that acts in concert with the user’s cardiac function; before that, she interned at Victoria’s Secret headquarters in New York City.
How did you find out about your new position(s) and what was the interview process like?
I found the smart textile research position from an email sent out by the Wilson College of Textiles, (so) I sent in a portfolio, resume and cover letter and a week later got selected.
I found the Adidas position on their website in January, applied, and after doing a recorded video interview, got selected to do a Skype interview. I actually didn’t get the job at first and ended up hearing back three weeks later when another position on the team opened up.
What is the biggest difference between being in college and working in industry?
I don’t really see too much of a difference. Since I am working in the smart textiles accelerator, it feels like I’m always learning. I participate in a lot of workshops as well as get assigned projects to complete. If I was to say there was a difference it would be the time allotted for doing projects. A project I could have spent two weeks on (in school), I had to do in about 24 hours.
What experiences did you take from COT that you can say have helped in your new career?
I would say senior design really helped me understand the design and ideation process, which is very important in my current position.
Was there a professor at COT that made an impact on you? Who was it and why?
I really enjoyed all my professors at the Wilson College of Textiles. Dr. Jesse Jur gave me the opportunity to further explore e-textiles through his smart textiles class and undergraduate research. He definitely shares the same passion I have about smart textiles. I also really enjoyed Dr. Jeff Joines and Dr. Russell Gorga’s teaching styles.
What is the best thing about the city you currently call home?
I live in Brooklyn and I love it here — there’s always something going on. Also there’s such a variety of food available. There’s a place near me that only serves different flavored rice pudding; I don’t get it but I like that the option is there. As for Portland, I’ve never been there but I watch the show “Portlandia” and it looks fun. I’m pretty sure everyone wears flannel in both Portland and Brooklyn, so I need to invest in more of those.
What did you enjoy most about your time at NC State?
I liked all the free snacks in senior design. Also, I worked as an intern at a textile manufacturer in Thailand for a summer where I got to work in the CO2 dyeing warehouse. This is pretty cool considering there is only one other manufacturer in the world that mass dyes using the CO2 dyeing technique. Sidenote: CO2 dyeing is taking CO2 gas and making it go into a supercritical state through pressure and heat; at this state the gas behaves like a liquid and dyes the fabric on a beam in a closed gas chamber. This eliminates the need for water waste in textile dyeing.
Do you have any advice about job searching or are there things that you know now that you wished you had known as a student?
I would say try to get an internship as soon as possible in your career, and try to really branch out in textiles and figure out what exactly it is you want to do through undergraduate research. Also, failing a test or getting a bad grade is not going to ruin your career.