Interior & Product Design

InteriorDesign

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The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

Build a better future.

There’s always a demand for those can make things that are smarter, simpler, and better—from the tools people use to the places where they live and work.

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Interior Design Bachelor’s Program is to prepare students to obtain entry-level positions in their field and function as trained professionals. Students conceive and develop viable design solutions within the interior environment utilizing creative, critical, and technical methodologies. They are prepared for the purpose of improving the quality of life, increasing productivity, and protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of the public by incorporating function, aesthetics, and environmentally sustainable products. By meeting the educational goals, students should develop an attitude of flexibility and a desire for life-long learning necessary to meet the changing demands of the interior design profession.

Student Achievement Data

Program Areas

Interior Design Program Image

Interior Design

Tricia Wright

Interior Design , 2015

The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, a campus of Argosy University

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You can develop the technical and creative skills to design attractive interior spaces that meet strict requirements for safety, accessibility, and sustainability.

Kitchen & Bath Design Area of Study Image

Kitchen & Bath Design

You can gain technical, aesthetic, and business skills while exploring everything from cabinet construction and color theory to building codes and project bidding.

Meet Our Faculty

  • Gaye Warren, Ed. D.

    Gaye Warren, Ed. D

    Hospitality Food & Beverage Management

    "Be persistent, be willing to embrace change, and be a team player."

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    Gaye Warren, Ed. D

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As far back as I can remember, I was cooking in the kitchen with my mom. I made my first pie with a lattice top at age six. For me, a commercial kitchen is like home. There’s nothing better then serving guests a wonderful meal.

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

    The hospitality industry is an environment of creative chaos where you learn by doing. Sharing my professional and work experience not only gives students a glimpse of what they can expect in the industry, it’s also their chance to learn from successes and failures.

    How would you describe your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    The best way to inspire students is to provide encouragement and supportive feedback, and be enthusiastic and passionate about the topic and the industry. The more personable and engaging you are as an instructor, the more students will ask questions, participate in the discussion, demonstrate a willingness to complete the assignments, and enjoy the course.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Students appreciate the opportunity to review their peers’ project work. The feedback they gain enhances the creative process and helps generate new ideas.

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

    Be persistent, be willing to embrace change, and be a team player.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    The hospitality industry can bring hard work, long hours, and crazy schedules. But it can also be incredibly rewarding and a ton of fun.

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  • Gazelle Samizay

    Gazelle Samizay

    Digital Photography

    "Try your best, and have confidence in your voice."

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    Gazelle Samizay

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I knew I was an artist when I was three, and I always gravitated toward the craft projects in preschool.

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

    I teach practices common in the workplace to make sure my students are able to write professionally and express their ideas visually through the art of photography.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I respect the energy and money students have committed to their education. And students can see that respect in how I hold them to professional standards and encourage them to do their best. I offer individual feedback to help each student improve their work according to their own abilities. I also consistently provide outside learning resources to support their efforts.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Student collaboration typically happens in the form of peer feedback. I remind students that their voices and opinions matter—and make a difference to other students.

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

    Try your best, and have confidence in your voice.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Don’t give up on yourself, and work your hardest.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    It’s important to me that students not only build their creative skills in photography, but also learn critical thinking skills they can apply to their own lives.

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  • Emadene Travers

    Emadene Travers

    Culinary Management

    "Always be professional."

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

    As an attorney. I discuss relevant legal principles as they apply to the hospitality industry. This is actually a multi-disciplinary approach that also includes marketing and management. There are a lot of legal considerations with respect to hotel and restaurant operations. The industry faces legal challenges every day, so I try to prepare students for that.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    There’s an assignment in Culinary 327 where students research an article on a technology topic. I provide the topics, which change from time to time; they’re timely and relevant, and represent cutting-edge concerns like big data, Cloud computing, and the Internet of things. It’s one of my favorite assignments because it makes students think about things they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

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

    A sense of personal responsibility, punctuality, and thoroughness in all their course work.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?


    Always be professional. Do your best, keep learning, keep trying, and have an open mind. Read More...
  • Erikk Ross

    Erikk Ross

    Web Design & Interactive Media

    "Never stop growing, never stop learning."

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    Erikk Ross

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    My father encouraged my brother and me to use the household computer when we were growing up. He taught me how to use the boot settings and memory configuration to install and play video games. That sparked my growing interest in programming and design.In high school, I took a media arts class and started to use Photoshop and Illustrator to create digital art. I enrolled at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where I combined my love for computers and my interest in digital media to launch my career as a web developer.

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

    I manage a small team focused on web development, database administration, and geographic information systems administration for Lake County, Florida. We build advanced web applications that help streamline processes. My team recently finished a web-based application that tracks sales tax revenue. That’s one example of the real-world experiences I share with my students. I stay up to date on the latest trends in web design and development to help prepare them for what’s coming next.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I’ve had the opportunity to write several classes in the Graphic & Web Design program area, including Introduction to Programming. Many students are a bit leery of the word “programming,” but they relax once they see how the material is set up for their success. Through guided exercises and detailed lectures, they’re are introduced to basic programming concepts via lectures, guided walkthroughs, or video tutorials. 

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    That’s the way most companies and workplaces operate, so we make sure that students from various disciplines work with each other on a range of assignments and projects. This experience of leaning on each other adds value to their education and helps prepare them for the real world.

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

    With confidence in your work and the drive to do more, and you’ll succeed.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Job offers rarely come to you, so put yourself and your work out there. Have a professional online portfolio and resume. Never stop growing, never stop learning.

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  • Gabi Etenberg

    Gabi Etenberg

    Digital Photography

    "Believe in yourself and in your work."

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    Gabi Etenberg

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    At age 13, after reading Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, I felt inspired to create visual artwork.

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

    I use the experience I’ve accumulated in my career to introduce real-life situations and construct scenarios that students can relate to as they begin to understand and anticipate their future as graduates and professionals. My feedback always includes tips, suggestions, and guidance to give them a broader perspective on the real world.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    Sometimes students are shy about working with life models for portraiture, or hesitant to put themselves in “director mode” in setting up a photo session. I make sure to guide them through the process and help them start to feel comfortable with the role.

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

    Perseverance, patience, and professionalism.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Believe in yourself and in your work—and in the value of your degree and the things you’ve learned.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I get enormous satisfaction from being able to help my students achieve their goals.

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  • Effi Karakaidos, MFA

    Effi Karakaidos, MFA

    Digital Photography

    "Never stop learning."

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    Effi Karakaidos, MFA

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    It was being one of only a handful of high school students (out of more than 2000) invited to join the advanced placement art class.

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

    I incorporate my professional background and experience into the coursework every day. The importance of deadlines, developing a distinct personal voice and style, and the ability to adapt to various situations are among the skills I work to instill in my students.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    When teaching portfolio courses, I ask students to assemble their very best work. I help these emerging photographers identify their strengths and weaknesses so they can put their best foot forward when launching their professional careers.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Working with other creatives plays a large role in student and professional success. As internship coordinator for the Photography program, I’m able to guide interns through collaborative, real-world ventures with their employers.

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

    Never stop learning.

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  • VisualDesign

    Dr. Natalie Hruska

    Graphic & Web Design

    "It's all about the journey and where you end up... which might not be what you had in mind."

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    Dr. Natalie Hruska

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I’d had a variety of jobs—from landscaper to data entry to tour guide. But I always knew I had a creative energy that couldn’t be quelled. Some bosses were kind enough to let me use my artistic side on occasion, but I always knew I needed more.

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


    I don’t promise students anything. It’s all about the journey and where you end up—which might not be what you had in mind. I tell them to spend time volunteering in their industry. The benefits are enormous—you add references, gain skills, grow your network, and open doors to new and unexpected opportunities.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I like the first assignments in every class, where students have to come up with an idea for their projects. There‘s so much competition online now, and a world of opportunity to do something better, find a niche market, and beat that competition. So I encourage students to think of something completely unique—a website, app, kiosk, animation, something nobody’s ever done. It makes the project more about the student than just getting a grade.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    When students work as part of a team, they get valuable experience before they enter the real world. Working on a project team as a designer, developer, project manager, or any other role lets them test the waters without having to commit for the long term. I’ve led a few special projects classes, and when it works—when you have a good team—it’s magical.

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

    I ask students to think back to when they were kids...when every summer day was a story waiting to happen. I think work, school, and life should still feel that way...have the same passion and excitement. When I ask students to think about their project ideas, I share this quote...

    "The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood."

    —Sir Richard Burton

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  • Ashley Fessler

    Ashley Fessler

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Be an independent problem solver."

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    Ashley Fessler

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I got into design because my seventh grade band teacher told my mom that I was tone deaf. He also said that he always saw me doodling...so I should switch to art. My parents sold my clarinet and set me on a more creative path.

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

    I draw on my 20+ years of experience to make the learning as real as possible. I own a freelance design company, where I’m responsible for the entire the creative process—finding work, negotiating contracts, day-to-day client interaction, and designing. I share my design work with students, ask them to think about where they see themselves in the field, and urge them to start thinking in terms of how design is more than just creating pieces—it’s a business.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I love teaching Identity Design. It’s a wonderful project where students create a logo design for a client, from start to finish. The client is a small business of their choosing, in their area. They get a chance to see a project through from start to finish and experience reaching out to clients. It’s a real eye-opener for them, and I love watching them gain confidence in themselves as designers.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Designers typically work with copywriters, editors, back-end web and technology specialists, illustrators, and other professionals. Very rarely can designers work through a project without the help of others. I make sure my students understand that early on.

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

    Be an independent problem solver. I still come across challenges and problems with every project I take on. It’ll be up to you as the designer to navigate those challenges and solve those problems.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Not every student has the same goals. I try to help them figure out where they see themselves, gain confidence in their creative decisions, and take ownership of their path to success.

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  • Karen Chapman

    Karen Chapman

    Advertising

    "Every project is a chance to showcase your ability."

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    Karen Chapman

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I’ve been passionate about art and creativity from a very young age. When I was approaching college, I realized I advertising was a field where I could put my creativity on display every day.

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

    I share my own industry experiences, current trends, changes in communication, and other developments with students. Sharing all this with students helps broaden their perspectives.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring—and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    In my Advertising Copywriting course, students create written content for radio, print, and TV. As they review current media trends, conduct client research, and examine their target audience, I challenge students to go beyond their initial ideas and take their thinking the next level. Sometimes students surprise themselves with a level of creativity they didn’t know they had.

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

    Always strive for your best work. Every project is a chance to showcase your ability.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    This field is very competitive. If you fail to meet the client's expectations, there are 20 people waiting for their chance.

    Read More...
  • Krista Atkins Nutter

    Krista Atkins Nutter, LEED, AP, MS, Arch, NCIDQ

    Interior Design

    "In the interior design profession, deadlines aren't negotiable."

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    Krista Atkins Nutter, LEED, AP, MS, Arch, NCIDQ

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I’ve been creative all my life, whether through music, theater, fine arts, or design.

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


    I use examples from my professional career to reinforce and supplement classroom discussion. I tend to teach courses that closely align with my professional experience, such as Sustainable Design.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?


    I’m particularly proud of an assignment I wrote for INTA312 Global Design, where students design a prototype for a temporary/mobile refugee shelter. I believe in volunteerism and community service, so I was happy to see that included in our curriculum.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Teamwork is paramount to interior designers, who work with engineers, architects, vendors, contractors, and skilled tradespeople. In sustainable design especially, integrated design teams are essential in ensuring that the design meets energy efficiency and performance criteria.

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


    Organizational skills, punctuality, and meeting deadlines may seem like just a list of soft skills to add to a resume. But in the interior design profession, deadlines aren’t negotiable. not meeting a deadline could cost commercial clients thousands of dollars in lost revenue. That’s why I stress the importance of building good, professional habits now.

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  • Joseph Podlesnik

    Joseph Podlesnik

    Graphic & Web Design

    "The online classroom is a kind of visual laboratory."

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    Joseph Podlesnik

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    My interest in making art came about as a gradual building of life experiences.

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

    I post samples of my design work and photography online for students to look over, along with my bio and website, which includes my photo books and exhibition record. It’s a way for them to become familiar with my work and perhaps inspire them to consider possibilities for their own careers.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my drawing, color theory, and design assignments, the online classroom is a kind of visual laboratory where we hash things out, ask questions, work on problems, and make discoveries.

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

    Along with learning marketable art skills, I want students to transcend themselves in whatever field they work. Whether they go on to become educators or pursue other areas in the arts, I hope they experience that transcendence through art, while serving others.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I see photography as commenting on perception itself, rather than serving as documentation.

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