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ICA and interior design program collaborate on ICA lounge redesign

ica interior design

Interior design students presented their designs for renovations to the Intercultural Affairs lounge area.

By Brooklyn Brown

Intercultural Affairs recently collaborated with the Interior Design Club on their lounge redesign.

Karin Kimenker, ICA administrative support associate began contemplating a redesign for the ICA lounge earlier in the year. She reached out to her friend and colleague Erin Adams, associate professor and interior design program coordinator, for consultation.

Adams suggested that instead of heading the redesign, she could oversee her interior design students in designing the new space. Kimenker took the idea a step further and suggested a competition among Adams’ students.

erin adams professor

Erin Adams (right), interior design associate professor, looks on as her students present their designs to members of Intercultural Affairs.

With the semester already underway, Adams knew implementing a new class project would not be feasible, so she approached her students with a volunteer-based project. The Interior Design Club coordinated the pitch competition and club president Abigail Gully suggested that the student teams pair up volunteer sophomores, juniors and seniors from Adams’ interior design classes to present designs.

“To have that collaboration across organizations created opportunities to break down those barriers and perhaps encourage more collaboration for other departments and communities across campus,” Kimenker said.

Adams was impressed with the interior design students’ willingness to provide a thoughtful and cohesive design for the ICA lounge on a strictly voluntary basis.

“I am just constantly blown away by how far they really do overshoot my expectations and I think sometimes they surprise themselves, too,” Adams said.

“That is absolutely the most rewarding thing to see as an educator. That’s why we teach – so we can see our students start at one level and wow us by climbing, shooting up to being professionals.”


Intercultural Affairs students were impressed with how well the design teams listened to their wants and needs.

On Wednesday, April 19, teams pitched their ideas for the new lounge to ICA students, staff and council members. Prior to presenting their pitches, the teams met with students and staff in ICA to discuss their specific asks and get a feel for the space.

“Each of the different designers listened to us and implemented that in their design,” said David Chandler, a sophomore in film and television production and chief assistant for the ICA Council. “We ultimately picked the first-place team because they seemed to know that ICA is a big collaborative space and their design worked well for us.”

kelly mallard

Kelly Mallard was a part of the first-place team.

Mekeila Santiago, a second-year criminal justice major and ICA Council social media chair, remarked that this event was a great example of the positives of collaboration on campus. “The collaboration was beneficial on both ends because we got to interact and experience the skills and talents of the interior design students and they were also welcomed to a new space on campus to come to in the future,” Santiago said. 

The competition was a close race that came down to one vote among the ICA council, staff and student employees. The winning team included Anna Shronce, Kelly Mallard, Loren Bolerno and Leslie Smith, who recently competed in another design competition on the international stage. Though the first-place team won with their overall layout, ICA also wants to include elements from the second and third place teams in their final redesign.

“Before we even presented, I really felt like our design was going to give them what they needed,” said Bolerno, a sophomore interior design major. “I was hoping they chose ours not just to win, but because I wanted them to have a space that really worked for them.”

Lauren Koster

Lauren Koster

The second-place team, consisting of Lauren Koster and Amanda Ghianda, incorporated lockers to offer storage and a comfortable and inviting space surrounding the television, both of which were specified requests from ICA.

“I’ve never worked with a real client before. Having this opportunity helped me see what I’ll be getting into later on once I graduate,” said Koster, a sophomore interior design major.

The third-place team, which included Polina Prissiajniouk, Baylee Redman, Sydnee Tarter, Leah Queen, Alexandra Sellers and Taylor Miner, implemented a rolling white board in their design, which would offer versatility for the different study and meeting spaces of the ICA lounge.

“It’s rewarding to know that a piece of our design will be incorporated in their space,” said Redman, a sophomore interior design major.

Leah Queen and Taylor Minor

Leah Queen (left) and Taylor Minor present their third-place design.

“I just want to thank the ICA for the opportunity to incorporate us and to let us learn from this experience,” said Queen, a sophomore interior design major.

This fall, students will be able to see ICA’s fresh, new lounge with a custom design from interior design students.

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