NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Every year, seniors in Stephen F. Austin State University’s interior design program take their final projects on the road to major Texas cities to receive feedback and obtain job leads.
Their travel was canceled this year because of COVID-19.
Like other designers around the country, the students decided to move their work online to showcase how they create beautiful spaces while focusing on safety, economy and utility.
The SFA senior interior design student website organizes the seniors by the cities they’re hoping to work in — Austin, Dallas and Houston — and presents their portfolios and résumés for potential employers to explore.
Jennifer Luque, adjunct professor of interior design in SFA’s School of Human Sciences, helped create the website and taught the seniors’ portfolio course during the spring semester.
“This is the next best thing to exhibiting in person,” Luque said. “What some have interpreted as a challenge, we have taken as an opportunity.”
She sent the website’s URL to the International Interior Design Association Texas/Oklahoma Chapter and the American Society of Interior Designers Texas Gulf Coast Chapter. Those organizations have agreed to share the website with their members, including thousands of interior designers, firms and industry professionals, according to Luque.
“In some ways, the students are receiving more exposure and a chance to share their graduate portfolios with individuals across the region,” she said.
Luque added that one student was hired just by sharing the site with friends, family members and firms asking SFA about recent interior design graduates.
Trekeva Cotledge of Whitehouse and Madison McDaniel of Mount Pleasant are two of the nearly dozen students featured on the website.
Cotledge’s portion of the website includes her designs for furniture, a condo and a long-term care facility.
“I aim to give back to the community and help clients’ dreams come true through strategy and dedication,” she said.
Cotledge hopes to obtain a second degree in architecture and start her own business.
McDaniel’s volunteer work refurbishing furniture for the “Chairished Blessings” fundraiser and designing bath houses for the homeless for Love In the Name of Christ, an organization in Nacogdoches committed to transforming lives, informs her design philosophy.
“A good designer needs to be able to see and create beautiful, functional spaces,” she said.
Her portion of the site features both residential and retail designs.
For more information on these future designers’ work, visit the SFA senior interior design student website at https://sfasuinteriordesign.wixsite.com/sfasu-2020portfolios. For more information on SFA’s interior design program, contact program coordinator Leisha Bridwell at (936) 468-2371, or firstname.lastname@example.org.