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Interior Design Seniors Showcase Four Years of Work

April 20, 2021
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The School of Interior Design Senior Show and Exhibition showcases student work with signature projects, including the Senior Thesis completed in the final semester.

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At the end of the 2020-2021 academic year, seniors graduating from the Anderson University School of Interior Design are showcasing the fruits of their labor. 

The School of Interior Design Senior Show and Exhibition showcases student work with signature projects, including the Senior Thesis completed in the final semester. Their works is on display now in Thrift Library’s Vandiver Gallery.

These soon-to-be graduates appreciate opportunities given them to personally connect with professionals and to go off campus to see firsthand how interior design professionals work.

“I definitely feel like I went in a bit over-prepared. That’s not a bad thing,” said Haley Sheppard, a senior from Atlanta, Georgia. “All of the projects we’ve been able to work on since freshman year has given a great insight and a glimpse into what it’s going to be like in the real world. Typically, designers won’t touch every part of a project, but we do, and on a grand scale. I think that’s been beneficial.”

When Bryce Saunders graduates, he’ll pursue further graduate studies to become an architect while working at an architecture firm. He has been accepted by three architecture programs, including the highly-regarded Thomas Jefferson University of Virginia College of Architecture. Saunders, a senior from Bennett, North Carolina, was hired full time in December with a premier regional architecture firm and has been working during his last semester. 

“I enjoy commercial architecture. My favorite so far has been hospitality and higher education,” Saunders said. “One thing our school does is they focus on connecting us to professionals, seeing different firms and businesses and having professionals come in to critique us.”

Genie Grace Buchanan always enjoyed creative problem-solving of interior spaces and appreciates being able to learn directly from professional interior designers and architects throughout her program in the School of Interior Design. 

“It’s great to learn technical skills,” said Buchanan, a senior from Georgia. “We’ve really learned a lot about structural construction and building sites.” Buchanan is interested in designing for corporate or hospitality clients. 

The Senior Thesis is the centerpiece, along with the signature projects students completed over their four years at Anderson. Senior Review students present their Thesis project and signature projects for review to an audience of faculty, family, external guest reviewers and friends as a component of the Senior Seminar course. 

In addition to the Senior Thesis, graduates must have successfully completed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination to become professional credentialed interior designers. The Anderson University School of Interior Design has a high passage rate for the NCIDQ.  

Every student must complete an internship for credit. During the global pandemic, all of the senior class experienced a traditional Internship, rather than remote internship, which has proved significant in the job search—many of which take place in major markets including Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Students also become actively involved in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and many compete in national and regional design competitions. 

Also, several graduates have furthered their studies in graduate programs. 

The Anderson University School of Interior Design is one of only nine such programs to be offered in a Christian institution of higher learning and has graduates working as professional interior designers across the nation and internationally. 

This year’s thesis topics are as follows, with student names in bold:

Natalie Bisbee – NASA Resort, Houston, TX
Genie Grace Buchanan – Fire Station
Graceanna Ellenburg – Senior Housing (Dementia Care)
Sarah Foushee – Women’s Shelter
Kellie Jonakin – Cinema: Post COVID
Sydney Kelly-Beal – Mental Health Care Facility  (Depression)
Emily Mauldin – Paralympic Training Facility
Sam Peyton – Christian Counselling Office
Bryce Saunders – Humane Prison Interiors
Haley Sheppard – Eating Disorder Recovery Facility (Underwater Component)
Ren Wells – Farm Sanctuary
Emily Garcia – Cancer Treatment Center 

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