Jennifer Kowalski | Tasha Christy | April Kotjan | Cari Mullaney | Melissa Hucke

Jennifer Kowalski – 2007 Alumn

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I graduated from SPU in 2007 with my Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design.  I know without a doubt that SPU played a huge roll in my success as an Interior Designer.  The technical knowledge and the skill sets the program provided, gave me an edge in the market and allowed me to pursue positions and internships that most design students my age probably weren’t going after.  The FCS department at SPU connected me with an internship opportunity in Bellevue working for a high-end residential Kitchen and Bath Design Firm.  I started my internship in February 2007 and in April of 2007 was offered a full time position as a project manager and designer.  Right away, I was not only assisting on many projects but was given projects of my own to take the lead on! My seven years in the Kitchen and Bath industry has brought some wonderful opportunities.  Most recently I was a recipient of the National Kitchen & Bath Associations “30 Under 30” Award.  The award recognizes 30 professionals under the age of 30 that the NKBA considers “up and coming.”  In July I accepted a position with Six Walls Interior Design on Mercer Island as their Kitchen & Bath Specialist.  I feel so fortunate to have been able to study my passion at such an esteemed University.  To be able to make that passion into a career is icing on the cake.  

Tasha Christy

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Where do you work and what does your current position entail?

"I am currently employed at Callison Architecture headquartered in Seattle. Callison is one of the major players in the architecture field worldwide with expertise in retail, commercial, healthcare, hospitality, and international work. I love that I am able to carry through my degree in interior design to my career as I create beautiful interiors for major clients around the world. The professors at SPU are what make the program what it is by pouring all of their passion and knowledge of design into their curriculums each year. The interior design program gave me the solid foundation I needed to gracefully transition into the professional design world by thoroughly covering the various aspects of the interiors including materials, building constructing, knowledge in universal design and drafting in both residential to commercial fields. I couldn't be happier with the program I chose at SPU and the commercial design career that I have landed in!"    

April Kotjan

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Where do you work and what does your current position entail?

"I currently work at Dawson Design Associates in Seattle.  The company's main focus is hospitality projects with an occasional residential or healthcare project.  At DDA every project is unique and has a different story, it is the designer's job to work with the client to tell that unique story through the design.  The projects range in location from being local to all over the country.   As a designer, every day is different and what I do depends on the phase of the specific projects that I am working on.  My day can range anywhere from writing specs, putting together spec and finish binders, doing custom drawings for furniture and light fixtures, doing AutoCAD drawings, product research and much more.  I also spend time net working with sales reps and arranging presentations with them.  I am constantly learning and being challenged to grow as a designer."     

What you learned at SPU that has been helpful to you as you begin your career? 

"As I began working as an interior designer after graduation I realized that everything I had been taught in the interior design classes at SPU I had already started to put to use!  The instructors did a wonderful job at preparing us for the "real world" of design.  The knowledge I gained at SPU was a good foundation to build upon with the work experience I am now gaining after graduation."

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Cari Mullaney Profile

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I work for JPC Architects as an Interior Designer. My days consist of meeting with clients, creating drawings, selecting finishes, and working directly with contractors to ensure the success of each project. JPC's projects are mostly corporate offices, but my current fun project is a small downtown salon. What I appreciate most about the Interior Design program at SPU is that it teaches you that we truly are in the service industry. We have the opportunity to humbly serve people, using the unique gifts Jesus has given us, in a very practical and artistic way.

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Melissa Hucke Alum Profile

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I'm an interior designer for One Earth One Design.  We specialize in sustainable design and work on both commercial and residential projects.  What is so great about working for a small company is that I am so involved in all phases of the projects.  There is never a dull moment as I'm always busy with a variety of different tasks.  My days can range from being on site taking measurements and meeting with contractors to visiting showrooms and meeting with clients.  Other days I'm in the office working on plans, elevations, specifications, budgets, proposals, and purchasing.  I am constantly learning new things by researching products or meeting with reps.  My favorite days are when I get to be more creative.  Those days I am selecting furniture and materials or putting together color boards.  Depending on the project I even get to go on business trips.  I love that no two days are ever the same.    

Starting out as a new designer fresh out of college I felt like I had such a great foundation to start with.  SPU's interior design program really prepared me to jump right into my career. There was a lot to learn once I was out in the field, but I felt prepared and confident.  The studio classes really taught me the processes that designers go through.  It was so beneficial to have such a great understanding of construction documents and being able to produce them.  Being proficient in AutoCAD was also a huge asset.  Having a background in materials, lighting, and textiles has proven to be quite valuable.  Although designers are constantly learning and being challenged, SPU's program really gives the background knowledge that is necessary to succeed in the interior design field.      

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