Claren Pappo

Interior Design

Instructor
The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago

Claren Pappo (AiChicago)

I strive to give my students confidence. Each has their own design voice and ideas to contribute. Claren Pappo , Instructor , The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I originally went to school for an undergraduate degree in Business-Marketing, but after a few interviews and job offers, I started to really think about what my life would be like. It didn’t excite me, so I decided that I needed to make a change and become a creative professional.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I often share personal projects that I am working on, either using them as assignments or as a discussion. I like to help them see the kind of quality work they could be doing in the future.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

We assign many different types of projects, both commercial and residential. This helps students to realize that there are many facets to the industry and pushes them to explore and discover more of what they enjoy.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

We do many group projects within our program. I always make sure that the assignments mimic what it may be like to work on a design team so students get used to working within professional processes.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

I strive to give my students confidence. They are capable. Each has their own design voice and ideas to contribute. They will all become professionals, and I want them to know that they have value.

Anything else?

I have worked in the commercial side of the industry, working on retail projects, medical office buildings, and schools. I now own my own firm where I specialize in residential renovations.