Professional Organizations

CDM students are encouraged to enter the professional communities associated with their academic program of study and career interests. Below are just a few organizations CDM students often connect with. Most of the organizations offer student membership options in addition to opportunities to attend events and connect with the community and local chapters.

3 students at an event
CDM student James Valles organized and hosted the 2019 IEEE Summer Mixer in Chicago. The annual networking event brings together engineering students and industry professionals from all over the region.


Actors' Equity Association

Actors' Equity Association (“Equity") is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional Actors and Stage Managers.   

Chicago Film Office

The Chicago Film Office is a one-stop liaison for all City of Chicago production needs including permits, city services, and logistical support.  

Directors Guild of America (DGA)

Through the collective voice of more than 18,000 members that the DGA represents, the Guild seeks to protect directorial teams' legal and artistic rights, contend for their creative freedom, and strengthen their ability to develop meaningful and credible careers.  

Illinois Film Office

Illinois is home to a thriving film industry with nationally renowned crew base, actors, and industry vendors. The Illinois Film Office has information on locations, tax credits, and a production guide for filming in Illinois. 

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)

IATSE is a labor union representing over 140,000 technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the entertainment industry, including live theatre, motion picture and television production, and trade shows.   


With national offices in Los Angeles and New York, and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond.  

The Gotham

The Gotham celebrates and nurtures independent film and media creators, providing career-building resources, access to industry influencers, and pathways to wider recognition.   

Writers Guild of America (WGA)

The WGA’s primary duty is to represent their members in negotiations with film and television producers to ensure the rights of screen, television, and digital media writers.   


Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

As the world’s largest computing society, ACM brings together educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges.  

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.   

Internet Society

The Internet Society supports and promotes the development of the Internet as a global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people’s lives, and a force for good in society.    

Special Interest Group on Human Interaction (SIGCHI)

ACM’s SIGCHI is the premier international society for professionals, academics and students who are interested in human-technology and human-computer interaction.   

UniForum Chicago

UniForum Chicago has monthly educational meetings to provide a local forum in the Chicago area for open systems and UNIX discussion as well as an opportunity to meet other professionals in the field.   


USENIX, the Advanced Computing Systems Association, brings together the community of engineers, system administrators, scientists, and technicians working on the cutting edge of the computing world.   


American Institute Graphic Arts (AIGA)

As the largest professional association of designers in the world, AIGA is committed to advancing the value and impact of design, both locally and globally, and working together to inspire, support and learn from each other, at every stage of our careers.  

College Art Association (CAA)

As the preeminent international leadership organization in the visual arts, CAA promotes excellence in scholarship and teaching in the history and criticism of the visual arts, as well as understanding through advocacy, intellectual engagement, and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners.  

Design Incubation

Design Incubation is a venue for educators and practitioners of Communication Design to discuss design research and practice. Their aim is to create a community where designers can assess creative work through a lens of scholarly activity and academic review.   

Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)

Founded in 1965, the Industrial Designers Society of America is one of the oldest and largest industrial design associations in existence. Membership is grouped into Professional Chapters and Student Chapters that help to foster professional development through the delivery of localized programming and networking opportunities.  

International Game Developers Association (IGDA)

IGDA is the world’s largest nonprofit membership organization serving all individuals who create games. They bring together developers at key industry conferences and in over 150 chapters and special interest groups (SIGs) to improve their lives and their craft. IGDA Chicago frequently collaborates with students and faculty in our game programs to bring events and guest speakers to campus.   

Society of Typographic Arts (STA)

STA brings the design community together by inviting and encouraging all creative professionals to get involved, be heard and help build an organization with unique social, educational, and networking opportunities.   

Speculative Futures

Speculative Futures is dedicated to the development and education of Futures Thinking—speculative and critical design, design fiction, futurism, and strategic foresight. There are several chapters of the organization, including one in Chicago.   

User Experience Professional Association (UXPA)

UXPA International supports people who research, design, and evaluate the user experience (UX) of products and services.