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AU News

Right from the Start, Interior Design Freshman Immersed in her Chosen Profession

MaryClaire Thompson
MaryClaire Thompson chose AU over other major interior design programs in the country and found the Anderson University School of Interior Design to be a great fit.

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Thompson, who comes from Glennville, Georgia, first became interested in interior design while in high school. 

“I knew that it was a very artistic field and I had always been really interested in art. I think that’s what first sparked my interest, probably watching HGTV or looking at interiors on Pinterest,” she said. “Then in my junior year, I took an architecture class, and that really spiked my interest even more because I realized just how much architecture is in interior design and how much you have to think about designing an entire space. It’s so much more than just decorating or picking out fabrics and finishes. There’s so much more architectural work that goes into being an interior designer as well.” 

Among all of the Interior Design programs in the nation, Anderson University’s Interior Design program is one of only nine in the nation offered by Christian universities.

“I am a Christian, and the Christian values that Anderson holds really helped me to decide on Anderson above other colleges. I was offered an incredible scholarship from Anderson University as well,” said Thompson, who is also part of the Fellows program at Anderson University. “The Lord definitely put all of those things together and opened all these doors to lead me here.”

In January of 2023 Thompson came for a visit and fell in love with the Anderson University campus.

“I thought it was beautiful, the people were really welcoming and very kind,” she said. 

Talking to Anderson University School of Interior Design Dean Anne Martin and the other Interior Design faculty and hearing of the program’s many successful graduates won Thompson over. While she’s most interested in residential design, Thompson appreciates being exposed to all kinds of professional interior design opportunities. 

“I’m still leaning towards residential design as of right now but my eyes have been opened to just how interesting and broad the interior design field can be,” she said. “I’ve definitely become more interested in commercial design or hospitality design than I was when I first started at Anderson.” 

Thompson says that during her first semester she took a very comprehensive introduction to interior design class. 

“In that class we really learn a lot about what it means to be an interior designer, the expectations of being an interior designer and we also learn a lot about the history of interior design. We learn a lot about famous interior designers and different styles of design,” she said. “That is an intro course and it really sets the stage for what you can expect out of your career at Anderson but also in your career after you graduate.” 

MaryClaire Thompson in lab

During that first semester Thompson also took an architectural drawing and graphing class. 

“They get you really involved right away in doing things. You learn how to hand draft a floor plan or an elevation, one point and two point perspective. Basically they teach you how to hand draw professional construction documents, so right away you’re doing things in interior design… You also get to finalize furnishings and fixtures… for a project that you start at the beginning of the semester.”

Martin, who taught MaryClaire in the Introduction to Interior Design course, said, “MaryClaire distinguished herself by demonstrating her personal Christian beliefs in her interaction with professors and fellow students which led to her being selected as a Team Leader in Collaboration based design projects during her first semester. These attributes which she embodied align with the reason she selected the AU Christian culture over some to the prestigious Universities in the country to which she was accepted.” 

Beyond her studies Thompson has embraced the community around her at Anderson. 

“I love the town. I think it’s a perfect size—not too big. Then the community at Anderson University itself is absolutely incredible. People here are so welcoming and so kind,” she said. “Here at Anderson University you pass people and smile and say ‘hello.’ At other universities everyone keeps to themselves. Here we’re all one community, one collection of people with a common mindset.” 

So far during her freshman year, Thompson has found numerous opportunities to get involved on campus.

“Interior design does take up a lot of time and is a lot of hard work, but if you manage your time well it’s very easy to get involved on campus. I’ve gotten involved in campus ministry like RUF or BCM, but I also have played multiple intramural sports already just in the past semester.”

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