Inspiring the next generation of designers

An early foundation in design encourages creativity, problem solving, and collaboration – skills that can help to prepare children for whatever big dreams they have for themselves! At the College of Design, we are dedicated to expanding access and providing opportunities for K-12 students to experience design.

Check out our year-round offerings.

Summer Camp

Design Dimensions: June 16-21, 2024

Design Dimensions focuses on 2D, 3D, and 4D thinking across disciplines and majors. Our on-campus experience is appropriate for students interested in all programs offered by the College of Design: architecture, studio/fine arts, community and regional planning, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and landscape architecture.  

This design camp is for rising 9th through rising 12th grade high school students. Opportunities are available for Science Bound students. Campers stay in an air-conditioned Martin Hall residence hall and enjoy programming at the College of Design during the day.

2024 Design Dimensions has sold out. Check back next year for the 2025 camp line up.

$575 registration fee includes overnight accommodation, supplies, basic linens, and all meals.

$325 registration fee for local commuters includes supplies and lunch daily. Campus parking not included.

The 2024 Design Dimensions camp includes several new workshops, including:

  • Illustration: How to Draw Great Ideas with Miriam Martincic, assistant teaching professor of graphic design
  • Design Elements and 3D Explorations with Nathan Edwards, associate teaching professor of art and visual culture
  • Architecture for People and Places with Kristen Greteman, assistant teaching professor of architecture
  • Design of a Personalized Reading Room with Yongyeon Cho, assistant professor of interior design
  • Industrial Design with Dan Neubauer, assistant professor of industrial design
  • Silk Painting with Li Zhang, assistant teaching professor of art and visual culture (debuted last summer and back by popular demand!)
  • Hi/Lo: Zines and AI with Tina Rice, assistant teaching professor of graphic design
  • The Anatomy of Art: Drawing from Life with Em Kief, assistant teaching professor of art and visual culture
  • Game Design with Anson Call, associate professor of graphic design
  • Concept Sketching with Jason Cornaro, assistant professor of practice in industrial design

A Partnership that Benefits You

Together with ISU Extension & Outreach 4-H Youth Development, the College of Design at Iowa State University offers a week-long immersive experience that provides youth with a sense of what it is like to be a student in the college. 

Financial support opportunities available to Iowa 4-H members.


Academic Year Youth Programming

Creators of Tomorrow

Creators of Tomorrow is a free one-day college and career readiness program for high school students in grades 10, 11, and 12 who are interested in art, planning, and design, and their parents/adults who would like to support their students in creative exploration with the College of Design.

  • Participate in a hands-on activity that blends the different design disciplines.
  • Work on a real-time project with design professionals and organizations
  • Engage in conversation with current College of Design students and alumni
  • Tour the college and Iowa State campus
  • Receive guidance regarding financial aid and applying to Iowa State University

This program is held once in the spring and again in the fall. Registration information will be posted here.

Creators of Tomorrow–Juniors

Creators of Tomorrow–Juniors is a free one-day program for students in grades 6, 7, and 8 and their parents/adults who would like to support their young people in creative exploration with the College of Design. The session is focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it relates to the various art, design, and planning programs in the College of Design.

  • Participate in hands-on AI and STEAM-based activities that blend the different design disciplines
  • Engage in conversations with current College of Design students and alumni
  • Tour the college and the Iowa State University campus

This program is held once in the spring. Registration information will be posted here.

FLEx Forward Learning Experience

FLEx is a mobile learning program for advanced design technology benefiting K-12 students and beyond in a 21st-century paradigm.

As an Iowa State design outreach program for Iowans, FLEx can visit classrooms, schools, libraries, science and art centers, educational conferences, and other community events throughout the state.

Taking technology on the road

Through a 16-foot trailer full of high-tech workstations, this mobile classroom is making the latest design and STEM technologies more accessible and is providing K-12 students and teachers with hands-on experiences. Structured around STEM, design thinking, and University Constructs (4C’s), this environment extends distant educational offerings by delivering full-scale augmented and virtual visualization, digital to real prototyping, circuit bending, and visual programming.  

FLEx is a collaborative design outreach program between Iowa State’s College of Design, College of Engineering, and Extension and Outreach Office. FLEx also partners with Iowa 4-H for youth development and educational outreach. Additional FLEx Space program development is supported by the Iowa Space Grant Consortium. 

  • Interactive virtual reality 
  • 3D printing 
  • Augmented reality 
  • Immersive visualization with Oculus Rift 
  • Circuit bending with Little Bits 

Programs can be offered inside or outside, weather permitting, to best complement the learning environment and event.


ISU 4U Partnership

ISU 4U Promise is a partnership between King Elementary School and Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines and Iowa State University that provides immersive opportunities and increasing access to higher education.

Through this partnership, the College of Design at Iowa State University provides on-campus programming for students from these elementary schools. The programming covers a wide variety of topics from creating zines to building pollinator gardens.

Students who complete fifth grade at King or Moulton and graduate from a Des Moines public high school are eligible for tuition awards at Iowa State University.

A prospective student and their family talk with an Iowa State University admissions representative.

A Cyclone in the Making

The best way to picture yourself on Iowa State’s campus is to visit and experience it yourself! Meet with Iowa State University students, tour the entire campus, and see our College of Design students creating and designing first-hand.