NKB wrote:I would like to find out how I can observe/intern/volunteer with industrial designers, especially toy designers or medical equipment designers, but I would take anything.
Old thread, but I do have a point, and it's going to be a bit harsh, so my apologies in advance. What's in it for me? That is what any potential employer thinks. Pretty simple fact. As an intern or volunteer your services have a negative value. Yes, you will contribute, but not nearly as much as I will with my time in managing you. Sure. Sounds like an ego trip. But realistically, my 20+ years of experience trump your 0 years by a great deal. An intern is an investment by the employer hoping the payoff comes sometime down the line.
NKB wrote:I found myself giving valuable feedback and advice to representatives at various booths ...
I am convinced you did, but then your reasoning goes off in the wrong direction by writing,
NKB wrote:... and through much contemplation I realized I wanted to go back to school and study industrial design.
Incorrect. Why is it do you think you had valuable feedback? I'll give you a hint, you already wrote it.
NKB wrote: I am a pediatric occupational therapist with a masters in occupational therapy, and my specialty is in pediatrics.
There. That is your lead. That is your WIFM (what's in it for me). You have special insight into the customer. Your observations as a pediatric occupational therapist are exactly what gave you the ability to give valuable feedback and advice.
And now you think you want to toss all of that knowledge to become a sketch monkey? It literally hurts my brain that you came to that conclusion. If I were you, I would stick with your advanced degree and use it on the front end of the product development process - discovering the needs of the customer. That is far more valuable that some stooge who pukes out ideas onto a piece of bond paper. It is your insight that shapes the ideas on those pieces of paper. You decide the value. Speaking for myself, I would never voluntarily give up that power.