Bridging Theory and Practice


The Sign Research Foundation is committed to promoting a collaborative community between academics, community managers, landscape architects, and urban planners. We are pleased to offer a scholarship to 50 diverse practitioners selected to attend the 2018 National Sign Research & Education Conference (NSREC) co-located with ISA Sign Expo. The program will take place on  March 21-22, 2018 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. See what the 2017 Scholars had to say about their experience.

This unique program allows for high-level collaboration between top tier academics and diverse practitioners with an interest in the regulation, conspicuity, design, placement, and effectiveness of sign systems and visual communication elements in an urban environment.

Schedule of Events
Wednesday, March 21
National Sign Research & Education Conference (NSREC)

11:30am-1:00pm SRF Scholars Welcome Luncheon
1:00pm-1:15pm Opening Remarks/Welcome
1:15pm-2:00pm WTF –  Wayfinding the Future – Cliff Selbert, Selbert Perkins Design
2:15pm-3:00pm Designing for Communities within the Public Process – Jen Bressler, Hunt Design
3:00pm-3:45pm The City As Canvas – How Cities Are Regulating & Profiting From Innovative Urban Media – Pete Scantland, Orange Barrel Media and David Ehrlich, Urban Activation Institute
4:00pm-5:00pm Working Roundtables

Thursday, March 22
Planning for Sign Code Success

9:30am-10:00am Intro & Coffee
10:00am-10:45am Sign 101 – Intro to Sign Construction & Technologies – TJ Daly, Acorn Sign Graphics
10:45am-11:15am Don’t Reed All About It – Other Legal Issues in Sign Codes – Kenny Peskin, ISA
11:15am-11:30am Break
11:30am-12:00pm Effectively Regulating Digital Signs – James Carpentier AICP, ISA
12:00pm-12:45pm Lunch & Networking
12:45pm-1:30pm Sign Regulations in a post-Reed world – Sara Taitt, City of Orlando, FL
1:30pm-2:15pm Policy and Process Considerations in Developing a Sign Code – Dr. Eric Strauss AICP, Michigan State University
2:15pm-2:30pm Break
2:30pm-3:15pm Municipal Perspectives on Sign Ordinances – Deborah Albert AICP, Arlington County, VA
3:30pm-4:00pm Updating the Osceola County Sign Code –  Amy Templeton and Kelly Haddock, Osceola County, FL
4:00pm-5:00pm OPTIONAL – Tour of ISA Sign Expo

Criteria for Application

The Sign Research Foundation wants to provide an opportunity for emerging professionals to experience the breadth of inspirational, experiential and practical education in one event. Therefore, we give preference to graduate students or those applicants who have fewer than seven (7) years of practical experience in their field. The scholarship is open to urban planners, landscape architects, code officials, community managers, and graduate students in urban planning, architecture, design, art, marketing/business, engineering, law, and other related disciplines.

All accepted participants must commit to:

    • Being present for the full program (March 21 – March 22)
    • Actively engaging and participating at round table exercises and sponsored events.
    • Completing an evaluation about your experience after the event.

Once accepted into the program, participants will receive:

  • Free entry to NSREC (a $200 value)
  • Two (2) nights of hotel stay (March 20, March 21).
  • Free entry to the ISA Sign Expo trade show floor
  • 50% discount on ISA Sign Expo education sessions on Thursday and Friday (including sessions on digital signage, wayfinding, accessibility, urban communication, and retail sign strategies.) Excludes the Wednesday Pre-Conference Workshops.
  • $250 stipend towards travel costs upon completion of the full program.
  • Guided tours of the trade show floor focusing on innovative materials and technology.
  • Exclusive invitation to private reception with the foundation leadership.
  • First look at the newest Sign Research Foundation white papers and academic research.
Apply Now


See what the 2017 Scholars had to say:

“The SRF Scholars Program was such a gift. I would have never met the people that I connected with had it not been for this program. I really felt like I was getting a ‘backstage pass' to all there is to know within the signage industry.”
Melanie Hoang, Sales/Project Manager, Archetype
“To me, NSREC crystalized the entire ISA experience: learning about current and future advancements in signage, then engaging with other professionals to convert that knowledge into meaningful ideas on the spot. It was a creative brain workout!”
Blake Kishler, Designer, Kolar Design
“This is one of the best conferences I have attended. I enjoyed networking with people from a variety of backgrounds. I especially enjoyed the roundtable discussion we had with our fellow peers to discuss the future of signage. Lastly, as a planner, speaking directly with sign code experts was an excellent experience that I will use to update our sign code.”
Michele Boni, Planning & Zoning Officer, Orange Township, Ohio
“The mixers/socials gave us the opportunity to make new professional connections and the scheduling of events was thoughtful. I really enjoyed each of the speakers and found the content and presentations to be thought provoking- especially the impact of technology ( to include programs and immersion of disruptive technologies).”
Patricia Ortiz, Planner, Ortiz Planning Solutions