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Learning By Coaching

Lindsay Lipschultz (EDI ‘24) shares how her experience as a design coach for undergraduate students enhanced her professional skill set.

Lindsay Lipschultz (EDI ‘24) was introduced to design coaches during her first year in Northwestern's Master of Science in Engineering Design Innovation (EDI) program.

These coaches were fellow EDI students paid to serve as advisers and teaching assistants. Lipschultz quickly decided she wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Lindsay Lipschultz“I appreciated that the design coaches in my classes were easy to get feedback from and how supportive they were,” she said. “I wanted to be able to provide that to the next class.”

Lipschultz was a design coach for multiple classes, but she got the most experience engaging with students and contributing to class structure in Human-Centered Product Design, an undergraduate course taught by Professor David Gatchell. There, she provided feedback on students’ assignments and helped guide their team projects.

“My initial interest in becoming a design coach was to be able to share what I have learned in my design courses with the next class of students,” she said. “I hope students found value in having a second perspective to provide feedback and guidance.”

Lipschultz is currently an associate research and development engineer at healthcare company Hollister Incorporated. She started as an intern at the company while completing her EDI coursework.

Being a design coach enhanced her professional skill set, providing her with added opportunities to mentor, share feedback, and apply critical thinking tools to a problem.

“I gained confidence by sharing my opinions and ideas to progress a project,” she said. “I have been able to apply that in professional settings as I share my ideas during meetings and discussions of our design projects.”

Being a design coach provides EDI students with an opportunity to develop higher-level mentoring and critical thinking skills. It also allows them to share insights they gain from their EDI classes about conducting design research and following a product’s lifecycle. 

Working alongside faculty provides design coaches with an added learning opportunity. Lipschultz credited Gatchell — director of Northwestern’s Manufacturing and Design Engineering (MaDE) undergraduate degree program — with teaching her valuable lessons she intends to rely on moving forward.

“Through Professor Gatchell, I learned how to provide feedback and push students and the project teams to succeed to a level that made them grow as engineers and designers,” she said. “He tries to give his students every opportunity to push their interests and projects as far as possible, and it inspired me to try to provide the same opportunities to others whenever I can.”

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