January 26, 2021

Dawn Dana was working as a Psychology Associate on a Traumatic Brain Injury Unit at a hospital, when, after a particularly difficult night, she knew she needed to make a career change.  She already had a degree in psychology and business, but was unsure of her next move.  It had never occurred to her that her work life could be fun, until her husband suggested that she try Interior Design.   She knew she was interested in residential design, so she immediately signed up for an information session at Century College, and was soon taking classes. 

Supportive Faculty

“Century College Interior Design faculty were great–they all had experience in the field, and they could tell you about the things that went wrong in their careers, as well as what went right,” Dawn remembers. “In addition, I took the Design Build class, and we designed a home for a client.  That experience alone was extremely helpful in my later career, because it helped me to tap into how to work with a client’s needs.  I wanted to make sure our client had everything she needed.  I still follow that principle.  People’s homes should make their lives easier.  Home should fit a person’s lifestyle.”

Student Involvement in ASID

Another experience which helped Dawn in her transition to her new career was her involvement in the student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). She served as the vice president of the student chapter, and was a student member on the Board of the Minnesota chapter, where she was a liaison between students and professionals.  She also served on the ASID membership committee while in school, and developed a quarterly student newsletter, highlighting students and events. 

Transition from Student to Professional

As if she wasn’t busy enough with her assignments and her involvement with ASID, Dawn took 18 credits while working full time evenings and weekends during her last semester at Century College. Five months before graduation, she applied to Studio M Interiors for an internship, and was hired on as an Interior Designer.  “I didn’t sleep until after graduation,” she laughs.  

In-Demand Career Skills

Dawn loves her work and views it as more of an avocation than a job. She sometimes works in the commercial sector with rental properties and bank properties, although she prefers to work with residential clients. “Residential design is more personal and I like to develop those relationships. I make things pretty for a living. It’s a fun job, and I like to make it fun for my clients, too,” Dawn says.  ”This is the busiest our studio has ever been. The pandemic has driven business through the roof.  Everyone is at home, wanting to make changes.”

There are many jobs in the Interior Design field, but it’s highly competitive.  When I decided I wanted to go in this career direction, I wanted to give it my all.  My work with ASID and my experience with and degree from Century College made that possible.”

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