Student Spotlight: Mariella Sanchez
Major: Interior Design
Mariella Sanchez has loved art since high school and is fascinated with color.
When she decided to pursue a degree in Interior Design, Sanchez first looked at another school’s program. Then she spoke with the website and marketing coordinator where she was employed at the time. The coordinator previously worked with the American Society of Interior Designers and recalled hearing that College of DuPage had a reputable Interior Design program.
“My intent was to complete a two-year program and transfer to Harrington College of Design to complete my bachelor’s,” Sanchez said. “I reached out to Harrington and asked their opinion as to which was the better program. Without hesitation they recommended COD, and I never looked back.”
She continued working full-time while taking courses at COD that were offered in the evening and on weekends, which allowed her to see if the program was right for her. After one semester, she was sure.
Sanchez was pleased that COD’s program included a Kitchen and Bath Design certificate supported by NKBA. She spent her internship at Studio 41 and was the thriving company’s first intern. The company liked her so much that they offered her a full-time job.
“I went into it just seeking to fulfill the certificate requirement of an industry-related internship and got a whole lot more in return, truly more than I expected,” she said. “My mangers and co-workers expressed how they were happy with my level of aptitude with details and my ability to design and sell projects. I felt honored to be offered a full-time position with Studio 41.
“My goal is to develop my knowledge base and abilities to efficiently tailor a design for commercial and residential projects alike. There is so much to learn at Studio 41 with their window and door showroom, plumbing showroom, and tile showroom.”
Sanchez graduated from College of DuPage with honors, earning her associate’s degree and the certificate. However, since Harrington closed its doors, she plans to complete her bachelor’s at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. She is using her time at Studio 41 as experience to register for the NCIDQ certification. From there, she is willing to see where her career leads and eventually would like to design and open a wellness center, which is another passion near to her heart.
She is happy that her journey led her to College of DuPage.
“It is a very technical program that still offers hand drafting and kitchen and bath design,” she said. “Additionally, the program coordinator has an extensive commercial design background with a focus on lighting, which enhances residential and commercial design. All instructors have an industry background and are still actively involved in the industry.
“I would advise others to live inspired and not be afraid of hard work in attaining your goals and dreams. Be resilient. If it was an easy thing to do, everyone would do it. Don’t put off doing what you love and enjoy. And if you’re not sure what that is, stay on your path and allow yourself to be led, trusting the journey. As a wise person once said, ‘Do something lest you do nothing!’ Perseverance and diligence do pay off.”
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137
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