Design students sweep competition

LONG BEACH – A group of interior design students from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) collected all of the student scholarships given recently in a competition sponsored by the Southern California chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), which awards up to $15,000 in recognition of outstanding student work prepared during their last academic years. CSULB senior Sara Nelson led the way for the group as the one exemplary student selected to receive the prestigious Stephanie Tar Scholarship and its $5,000 prize. Senior Thaddeus Lee followed, collecting the $5,000 first-place award for best portfolio, and fellow seniors Kelsey Kaplan and Karlie Kier tied for second place in the portfolio category, earning $2,500 each.

All four CSULB students will be celebrated and recognized for their awards at the 2014 Calibre Awards reception, dinner and program at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City on May 9.

Founded in 1995, the IIDA Southern California chapter is one of the largest chapters with more than 800 members throughout Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Santa Barbara counties as well as the Inland and Desert Empires. The chapter believes in the advancement of education through annual student awards, which honor IIDA student members who pursue education in the field of interior design and show potential to advance the interior design profession.

“As a group, all 26 of the students from this class have exceeded my expectations. I taught them their first studio (junior studio) class after they were officially accepted into our BFA (bachelor of fine arts) Interior Design program,” said Dorothy Ottolia, co-coordinator of the BFA program. “They have been by far one of the most professional, collaborative, encouraging and optimistic group of students I have taught. They support each other and celebrate each of their classmate’s successes. All of the faculty in the BFA program are thrilled with their success in this scholarship competition.”

To enter the competition, students first submitted online applications that included their academic standing, letter of recommendation from a teacher or professional in the design industry, a description of two to three of their projects, their design philosophy, and a sample of their work.  In all, some 40 students from the Southern California area applied for these scholarships.

From there, the local IIDA chapter picked 12 students to present the two or three projects they described on the online application in person to a panel of three judges. Each student had 10 minutes to present and another 10 minutes for a question-and-answer section. Seven of the 12 students chosen to present were from CSULB’s senior BFA interior design studio.

Winning the Tarr Scholarship, Nelson was honored for her well-rounded design excellence. For the award, students are asked to present projects that illustrate how environmental, social, technology and cultural issues are addressed in a design solution. Nelson’s thesis project caught the judges attention.

“I was shocked when I found out I had won the Tarr Scholarship,” noted Nelson, 24, a Seal Beach resident who will graduate from CSULB this spring. “As I read through the email one thing stuck out to me, the judges said that they were impressed by my involvement with my thesis community. My thesis is about creating a family center in the community of Oak View in Huntington Beach.”



Published: April 17, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 01