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International Interior Design Association

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Wilsonart Essay Competition Guidelines


Who Should Enter

All student participants in the Student Mentoring Program may enter by submitting an original essay about their mentoring experience.


Your essay should be a reflection of your mentoring experience, address how your mentor inspired you, and how the program augmented your formal education. Include specific information about activities you participated in, what you learned, and what innovative leadership qualities your mentor possessed.

Your essay should be 500 words minimum to 750 words maximum and include the following on your entry form:

  • Your name
  • IIDA Member number
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Name of university you are currently attending
  • Mentor name
  • Name of company your mentor works for

Wondering how to craft a winning essay? Here are are some top tips to keep in mind:

  • Focus on the mentoring experience. What did you learn? How did your mentor inspire you? Has the experience provided you with new insight into the design industry and your career path?
  • Be yourself. Let your personality, creativity, and love of design shine throughout your essay.
  • Proofread your essay for sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. It doesn’t hurt to have a friend review it, too.

Read last year's winning essay.


The IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees will review the essays and select a winner. The winner will receive $1,000 courtesy of the Wilsonart Student Education Fund. Wilsonart will also provide roundtrip airfare and two-night hotel stay in Chicago during NeoCon. The student will also be featured on the IIDA website, the biweekly e-newsletter DesignMatters, and in the IIDA Student Member quarterly e-newsletter, QUAD.


For questions or more information, contact Aisha Williams, senior director of industry relations & special events, at