Eastern Michigan University interior design students showcase their exceptional talents in this year's National CET Student Awards, continuing the legacy that previous EMU students have set.
This annual celebration of talented individuals and students is sponsored by Confiugra, a Swedish software company. These awards allow students to use their creativity and skills attained to complete a fully professional project. This year, students were tasked with designing part of an office space, approximately 12,000 sq. ft.
EMU students remodeled the second floor of the university's Roosevelt Hall. The assignment of this space was driven by a potential interest in renovating the hall in the future. Students began working on their projects in the fall of 2021; they were required to use CET, a space planning and design software, which meant students had to learn simultaneously as they developed their projects.
First-place winner, Kaitlyn Dorey, followed by Allison DePottey and Claire Heikka, are all students in EMU's interior design program, making this the fourth consecutive year that all top three spots were awarded to EMU students. This repeated win alludes to a successful interior design program curated by EMU.
When asked if the university could be credited for these victories, Dorey praised the faculty and highlighted the rigorous structure of the program.
"We have a very intense interior design program and a good collection of faculty members that know the material very well and they're very good at teaching it," Dorey said.
She emphasizes that the set structure of the program meant her classmates remained the same throughout her college years, creating a close-knit environment between the designers that other programs may lack. It could be this community development within the students that led the students to their cumulative victories.
“Quite honestly, I'm still a little shocked that I made something deserving of first place. I am also very proud of my classmates who placed and submitted their designs. We work so hard at what we do and I'm glad they are getting the recognition they deserve,” Dorey said.
She explained that the development of the project was not linear. The office space was relatively large, which meant a great amount of time was needed to complete a detailed and cohesive space. Additionally, she expressed feeling imposter syndrome throughout the process, which made creating a space she was truly proud of difficult.
She highlights that the assurance and validation of competing and being judged have helped combat doubts she may have had. Moreover, as a result of these awards, EMU's interior design program has developed a scholarship fund to be awarded in January 2023. The interior design certification fund will help support upper-classmen pursuing select certifications.
Winning students will be presenting their submitted models through virtual reality displays. The demonstration will be held during EMU's Undergraduate Symposium in March 2023.