Spotlight shines on interior design: Texas State students take top national prizes

design student with plans

Spotlight shines on interior design

by Alex Dominguez

Texas State students take top national prizes

 Separated by one academic year, a dancer and an artist have brought the spotlight to the Interior Design program in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences by bringing home two prestigious national awards.

Lindzey Duval (B.S. ’17) was named the 2017 National Student of the Year by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) after having served as president of the Texas State chapter. In 2017, Senior Morgan Lebsack was one of 13 students nationwide to be awarded the Angelo Donghia Foundation $30,000 scholarship.

The Interior Design program joined the School of Family and Consumer Sciences in 1972. In 2016, 77 percent of students had secured jobs in the design field before graduation day.

"For my first semester, I was actually an education major," says Duval, a competitive dancer through high school. "Halfway through the semester, I decided to change my major to interior design. So although I chose Texas State because of the education program, I was lucky to find that the interior design program was, and is still, one of the top programs."

Lebsack, an artist since her elementary school days, was initially torn between interior design and fashion merchandising. "Moving through the program and the growth and development I have seen in myself and the mentorship I have received from my professors, I understand that this work is my passion," she says. "In high school, I was a cross-country runner and I always had that one coach I looked to for guidance. Moving out of high school and into college, I was looking for that (mentor) and ever since my first class with Associate Professor Anjali Bhalodia, she took on that role for me. Because of that mentorship, I know wherever I end up I will be able to make the biggest difference."

Duval strongly feels that it was the opportunities provided to her by the university that have allowed her to begin working in her field of study. "I still remember getting the phone call that I had been selected and feeling overwhelmed with emotions," Duval says.

"This award has opened many doors for me, provided more connections in the industry, and allowed for direct connections with the wonderful people at IIDA, which allows me to experience more and get involved on a higher level. I have already seen the impact this award has made on my personal and professional life. I know even more exciting things are happening in the near future."

Since graduating in May 2017, Duval has been working in a full-time interior design position with HDR in Chicago. The Student of the Year Award recognizes student members whose involvement and leadership has significantly impacted their school’s interior design program.

"The interior design faculty are extremely proud that Lindzey’s hard work and dedication to the student IIDA chapter was recognized by such a prestigious, national award. She and her fellow IIDA officers worked diligently to bring a wide range of professionally enriching opportunities to the ID students last year and it’s nice to see that effort rewarded," says Associate Professor Caroline Hill, one of Duval’s professors.

Lebsack’s award was only the second time Texas State has submitted an entry into the Angelo Donghia scholarship competition, which is open to interior design students entering their senior year. Her mentor is understandably proud of Lebsack’s achievement. "Morgan is creative, hardworking, and highly respected by her fellow students. She is also engaged in many organizations on campus, including the IIDA student chapter. The ID program looks forward to seeing Morgan’s bright future as a design professional in the industry," Bhalodia says.

For the competition, Lebsack designed a space for a community. "When I think of interiors I think of the space that is designed. If it’s commercial every element should be purposeful; they aren’t just random spaces. Interiors are really special," she says. "My project was The Social Station — a space in downtown Dallas that allows for individual companies to co-exist in the same space. You come into the office and rent it for however long you need to help your company grow. At nighttime The Social Station turned into a pop-up shop market," she says.

Duval and Lebsack found their need for creativity, first spawned by dance and art and encouraged by their chosen field of study, and then cultivated through various opportunities.

The starting point for each was slightly different, but the passion for the work that they found along the way could not have been possible had it not been for the academic support they received.