By Carson Deveau
Back in 2016, Bronya Meharg was working as a designer for a toy company that she had been at for the past six years. Meharg, a graduate of NSCAD University with a degree in design, liked the position, but knew that it wasn’t what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. It was around this time that one of Meharg’s former NSCAD instructors, Glen Hougan, called her to tell her about the IDEA Sandbox boot camp that was about to begin its’ second year. Meharg had never heard of the boot camp before, but decided to trust her old instructors and participate in the six week long program.
“It was an opportunity to get myself back out there and try to find what it is that I wanted to do with my career,” Meharg said.
During her time in the boot camp, Meharg worked on a variety of different projects and was exposed to a lot of different ways to look at an issue because she had been working with students with engineering and business backgrounds.
“It was nice to work with other students (from different backgrounds) to be able to see their perspectives on things. It was something I had never had the opportunity to do that before since I would usually just work with other designers on projects.”
Not only did Meharg like working with other students, but she also enjoyed working with Cliff Johnston, engineering professor at Dalhousie, and David Roach, business professor at Dalhousie, because of their unique perspectives as well.
“Hearing them give their takes about design, and how it fits into the world of engineering and business, was eye-opening and got me to think about aspects of a project that I wouldn’t have beforehand.”
Almost three years has passed since Meharg has finished the boot camp, and she is no longer a toy designer, but instead has found her true calling – designing products for a pharmaceutical company that helps residents in Nova Scotia.
Meharg never had an interest in this field of design until she was in the boot camp and her group was tasked with creating a product to help those living with physical disabilities for their final project. After designing a coffee cup that was easier to hold for people with arthritis, Meharg said she knew right then that she wanted to use her knowledge and skills in design to help solve real-life issues for people.
“Working with toys was awesome and really fun, but being able to help out people who are going through real issues, and make life easier for them, is so rewarding.”