August 04, 2020

When Piper Donlin was looking for a new direction, Century College’s Interior Design program provided a natural career progression.  She had already earned her Bachelors degree at the University of Minnesota and her MA at the University of Oslo. 

In addition, Piper had worked in the field of environmental sustainability and policy with nonprofits such as the campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and the Izaak Walton League

Scandinavian Influence

While studying in Norway, she soaked up the culture, and was especially impressed with Scandinavian design. “I drew a lot of inspiration from the weather, the chic cool grays, the whites, and the sleek lines,” Piper remembers. She was also influenced by the Norwegian concept of Koselig, which roughly translates to “cozy” and embraces the ideas of warmth, happiness, and well-being.  

Additionally, Piper loves art and painting, and loved seeing the landscapes of Edvard Munch in the Norwegian museums.  In her spare time, she loves to paint in watercolors and oils—mostly landscapes.  

A Career-Oriented Program

Looking for an outlet for her creativity and artistic talent, Piper joined Century’s Interior Design program.  ”I wanted to make people feel good while they were making changes in their lives, and Century College provided new career options.”

Through the Interior Design program, Piper has completed two internships.  The first was with a small staging company called Welcome Home Productions, and the next internship was with Ethan Allen, where she was soon offered a job as a design consultant.

“The faculty in the Interior Design program at Century are well-connected, and committed to helping the students expand their career options,” Piper says. “Sarah Rodriguez, Catherine Harrington, and Sheree Vincent are wonderful, and worked hard, finding good internships fits and opportunities for all of us. Also, thanks to them, I got scholarship through the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Excellence in Her Education and Career

Piper has a lot of passion for her new career, and coursework, and was named an Outstanding Student in the Interior Design program this spring.  “Striving for excellence means being open to new experiences, and soaking in new knowledge.  You have to understand others’ wants and needs, be curious, and willing to work hard,” Piper notes. “You also have to be innovative, flexible, resilient, and willing to overcome obstacles.”

The best part of her job involves meeting new clients, and helping them articulate what they want from their home and living spaces. She enjoys determining what they need and want, and building beautiful homes for them.  “I love being able to step in and give people something they never thought possible—This is especially critical now, as people are spending more time at home during the pandemic,” Piper says.  ”Functional spaces are an overlooked part of design.  I want to help make it a a joy to go downstairs, get coffee and go to your home office.”

Future Goals

Piper’s future goals involve working for a small to midsize sustainable firm, focusing on health and well being, commercial design work and residential.  And, she may own her own business one day, perhaps working with the friends she’s made in the Interior Design program.  

“Century College has been a wonderful experience.  It’s a good fit for me,” Piper adds, “I’ve met friends that I know I will work with,  and the people are wonderful.  Financially, it’s do-able, and it’s a career-centric program.  The faculty help get you prepared for your next career steps.”


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