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Two alumni interior design students.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Meet Jenica Lee, 2015 Interior Design Graduate

Jenica Lee

Q&A with Jenica Lee

 The Basics

  • How old are you? 26
  • What city do you live in? London, United Kingdom
  • What is your current job title? Interior Designer at Goddard Littlefair
  • What year did you graduate from the Interior Design program? 2015

The Story 

You’ve achieved so much since graduating from KPU. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

 In 5 -10 years I see myself working as a senior designer at a design firm that specializes in hospitality and restaurant design. I would love to be able to have a couple younger designers working on a team with me who I could mentor and help guide their future careers 

 Why did you choose KPU and how do you feel about the program?

I chose KPU because I knew that Kwantlen was the only school that offered an accredited program. If I was going to take this career seriously I needed to ensure I was followed right path to do so and would lead me to a successful career. I had of heard several positive reviews of the program and that made me confident that I was making the right choice in terms of my education.

Do you have a specific mentor that drives you?

I actually have two. My mom is a great support and inspiration to me. Although she specializes in a completely opposite type of profession (accounting)  My 4th year instructor Erick Villagomez was a huge support for me during my time at KPU. He had a way of explaining things in a way that was clear, concise and easy to understand. I feel that he pushed me when I needed to be pushed while also allowing me to discover things for myself as well. I learned a tremendous amount from him and am extremely grateful to have been able to be one of his students. 

What is your fondest memory from the Wilson School of Design?

My fondest memory from the my time at the Wilson School of Design was giving my final senior thesis presentation at the end of 4th year. It was a project that I was extremely proud of and felt was the most complete project I had done. I just remember feeling that all the hard work I had put into it had finally paid off. 

The Experience

Describe your path after graduation?

During the last couple months of my degree I had applied for an internship at Kit and Ace within their Shop Development department. I was lucky enough to be selected as an intern by the company and that is where my design career began. I started my position at Kit and Ace directly after graduation and it was an exciting company to be a part of. As my internship came to an end I explored other opportunities but ended up getting hired as a full time employee at Kit and Ace. In February there was a company-wide restructure in which I unfortunately lost my job but I viewed it as an opportunity for something great. I thought about potentially moving abroad but also continued my job search in Vancouver. I ended up landing a position as a junior interior designer at Box Interior Design - a company that specializes in high-end hospitality design. Although I was ecstatic about this new opportunity I still had the urge to travel and work abroad so I followed through with my plan to move to London. When I first landed here I just needed a job to get my foot in the door. Eventually I landed a position at a high end luxury residential firm called Mlinaric, Henry and Zervudach in which I had the opportunity to work on a large scale marina development called Porto Montenegro. Although I learned a great deal from this experience I felt the company did not align with the career trajectory that I wanted. I began searching for other positions and eventually I struck gold with my current company Goddard Littlefair – an award winning interior design agency specializing in luxury hospitality. I’m excited to see where this company could take me.

Did you have any practicums or mentorships that led to employment or helped you get out in the ‘real world’?

In our 4th year of the interior design program we are placed in a 2 week practicum at firm. We had the opportunity to submit our preferences for firms that we wanted for our placements and I had chosen a firm called SSDG. The firm specialized in cutting-edge workplace design and had a great reputation within the city. It was during this practicum in which I got my first taste of what it would be  like to be working in the interior design industry and it was here where I felt I knew I had chosen the right career. 

Do you have any particularly memorable moments/experiences during the program that shaped who you are as a designer today, or, that you feel were formative? 

I feel that the entire overall experience at KPU has helped shape the designer I am today. I learned valuable skills in the program and felt that I was as prepared as I could be for the working world after graduation. The professors definitely made the experience a memorable one and challenged me all the ways that I needed to be challenged. Without those learning experiences I would not be where I am now. 

Alumni Testimonials

"The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) reaccreditation confirms the rumour is true: KPU offers one of the best interior design programs in Canada! It takes a bold, committed and confident department to voluntarily put their curriculum up for review by an independent review panel. Given the majority of evidence analyzed by CIDA is previous student work, this reaccreditation also proves KPU successfully translates academic theory into applied design skills. Past performance is the best indicator of future achievements; I look forward to many more success stories. Many thanks to everyone in the KPU Interior Design department!"

Taryn Chisholm, 2014 Grad
Geralynne Mitschke Design, Vancouver, BC

"My 4 years at Kwantlen were an unforgettable experience. Balancing multiple group and independent projects at once has prepared me well for the very hectic workplace. I learned time management, technical skills and the design process with an incredible group of 20 classmates that were right by my side from year 1 to 4. The dedication and passion from the teachers at Kwantlen is truly admirable and contagious. The small class sizes allowed the opportunity to build a trustful relationships with the teachers that is unlike any other university I've heard of. "

Alexa Bustamante, 2014 Grad
DIALOG, Vancouver, BC

"Entering into Kwantlen's Interior Design program was one of the best decisions I've made. Over the four years, I had a really positive experience with a supportive and committed group of faculty, staff, and students. Having previously attended a much larger university in BC, I appreciated and thrived in the personal, one-on-one learning environment and the smaller class sizes. Because you move throughout the program with the same group of students and faculty, you create close relationships that will carry on in your professional and personal life after graduation.

The program offers students numerous opportunities to be exposed to the design industry though site visits, work experiences, guest speakers, department events and the opportunity to travel to another city and experience interior design in another context. I feel prepared with the knowledge and skills I've learned to enter into the design profession. I think the program at Kwantlen has provided me with a strong foundation of interior design that will allow me to successfully contribute to the industry."

Lisa Yip, 2011 Grad
KASIAN Architecture Interior Design & Planning, Vancouver, BC

"The Kwantlen Interior Design Program prepared me for the design world. It taught me patience, organization, integrity, and a variety of technical skills that I have been using every day since I have started working in an Interior Design firm. I especially enjoyed connecting with the same 20 students throughout the last four years as well, where strong bonds and relationships were made. This program was an overall positive experience, and although challenging, it has helped me grow and build my confidence as a designer."

Whiteny Chow, 2011 Grad
Currently with Concrete Cashmere Ltd., Vancouver, BC

"The small class sizes provided a comfortable and open learning environment. The instructors' dedication to the students, the program, and the profession of interior design makes Kwantlen's Interior Design program competitive and relevant."

Julia Devlin, Alumni
Onni Group, Vancouver, BC