Utah State University is celebrating the first graduates of its Outdoor Product Design and Development Program this week. This unique degree is launching students into careers even before they have time to put on caps and gowns.
Natalie Cullum, who is graduating from the new program, wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she first arrived at the university, “I thought the campus was beautiful and that’s what brought me here” Cullum said.
The 21-year-old grew up outside, biking, rock climbing, and everything in between. Her love of the outdoors found a home in Outdoor Product Design and Development.
“I had like one month of I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” said Cullum. “This major was created halfway through my first semester of my freshman year so I just switched right into it.”
During her time at Utah State, Cullum also discovered fly fishing. Then she received her first pair of waders, waterproof coveralls you wear in the water. Despite being made for women, Collum said, they were too baggy.
“I wanted to kind of change that,” she said. “So, I ended up designing a pair of waders and I posted pictures on Instagram.”
Orvis, a retailer well-known to outdoor enthusiasts, replied to Cullum’s Instagram post. And...
“I’ll be the junior product designer for Fish and Hunt at Orvis in Vermont coming this June,” Cullum said.
Utah State isn’t the first or only outdoor product or design program but no other institution offers both. Program Director and Assistant Professor Andrew Deceuster said the uniqueness of the program is that it allows students to wear multiple hats when they get into the workplace.
“We’re getting them hired before they can graduate,” Deceuster said. “That’s really the end goal right? We want them to have jobs.”