The annual IDSA Student Merit Awards (SMAs) provide industrial design students with opportunities to showcase their talents and achievements. The program also allows universities and design schools to gain acclaim and visibility wihle providing a platform for design managers and other talent acquisition professionals to meet and possibly even hire the next generation of designers.
SMAs begin at the ID school level in January each year as each school selects one winner from senior competitors. The school-level winners then advance in the spring to their respective IDSA District Design Conference (DDC), where they compete for the District title. Each District chooses one SMA winner, who is then recognized through a profile in INNOVATION magazine in a special Education Yearbook (new for winter 2018), on IDSA.org and at the International Design Conference's IDSA Awards Ceremony and work displays. At times, SMA winners also may be asked to speak at IDSA events the following year.