Interior Designer — O'Toole Design Associates
Explain your career path
In High School I worked for a small Residential Design firm, that experience only affirmed my love for Interior Design. Fast forward to my Junior year of college, the Interior Design department at SEMO requires each student to complete an internship program prior to graduation to gain experience. My internship was with O'Toole Design Associates in St. Louis, MO. I loved every second of that summer. I was learning and being challenged every day that I stepped into the office. O'Toole then extended my summer intern position to a winter intern position and finally to a job offer after I graduated. I have now been at my job for 6 months and my excitement for my job has not faded, if anything, it has grown. In about a year and a half I will have the opportunity to take (and hopefully pass) several accreditations and move up to Interior Designer II status.
What was your major at Southeast and how would you characterize the quality of that program to prospective students?
After watching hundreds of episodes of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" on ABC as a child, it was my dream to be an Interior Designer. All throughout my childhood and education I was very involved in art and design. That led me to pursue a degree in Interior Design in Fall of 2016. Additionally, I minored in Marketing and Architectural Design.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
After 11 unhappy college visits, a family friend recommended I visit SEMO. I was very reluctant because of my experiences on the other 11 visits but my mom insisted we give SEMO a shot. After my Show Me day, I remember turning to my mom in the UC parking lot and telling her we didn't have to look any more because this is where I wanted to go. SEMO had every single thing on my Wishlist. I am SO thankful for that day because it was the beginning of the best days of my life.
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
My professors influenced me the most during my time at Southeast. Some of my favorite and most influential include my advisor and professor, Michelle Brune, Morgan Campbell, Carol Nessler, Brian Bowers, Joni Hand, and Joel Rhodes. I truly enjoyed every single one of their courses because of their extraordinary teaching.
Share your best college memory.
It is absolutely impossible to nail down one BEST memory because I had a lot of bests here. One of my favorites though was when my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and our partner Sigma Chi won Homecoming. I was homecoming chair and had spent the last month working harder than I ever thought I could. The day of Homecoming made it all worth it.
If you were in Greek Life, the Honors Program or any other student organization, please tell us about that experience and how it impacted you.
I have only been in the field for 6 months but in that time, my greatest accomplishment was being the designer on my company's new office design!
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
While at SEMO, I learned so many things but the most important thing I learned was who I am as a person. I became independent, driven, confident and open-minded in the four years I was at SEMO.
Describe Southeast in three words.
Inspiring, Exciting, Home
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
DO IT! This is your sign! Interior Design is an ever-changing field that will always keep you on your toes and looking forward to your next project. It is an opportunity to make the world a more functional and beautiful place and improve the quality of life for the people who live or work in the spaces that you design.