Sweeping sensations: Eastern Michigan University interior design students take top three places in nationwide competition for second consecutive year

Olivia Grant's first place interior design in the CET Designer contest in the Student Rendering category.
Olivia Grant's first place interior design in the CET Designer contest in the Student Rendering category.

YPSILANTI – Interior design students from Eastern Michigan University won the top three places in the Student Rendering category in a nationwide CET Designer contest sponsored by Configura, a major Swedish software company.

Olivia Grant took first place, Alondra Chavez was second and Raina Hammitte took third.

The students’ impressive sweep came this fall in the13th annual CET Designer Awards. CET Designer is a space-planning software used around the world. Last year, Eastern also took the top three spots and repeated the feat this year.

The three students were enrolled in Interior Design Studio V, taught by Dr. Diane Guevara, an NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design) licensed interior designer in the School of Visual and Built Environments in the EMU College of Engineering and Technology.

Alondra Chavez's second place winning rendering in the CET Designer contest.
Alondra Chavez took second place with this rendering.

Help along the career path, and helpful peers

Grant said that class was her favorite, and helped her guide her next step.

“Working in CET Designer and designing commercial office interiors helped me chose the career path I want to pursue,” she said. “I now work for a commercial furniture dealer and we use CET Designer as well. So, if it wasn’t for Diane’s studio class and all her help, I wouldn’t be where I am today. 

“I’m so proud of everyone in the program, it’s truly amazing to see how far we’ve all come. I also want to congratulate Alondra and Raina. It’s awesome to see that Eastern students took the top three spots in the competition again this year.”

Chavez said that the Studio 5 class offered a “great experience” in learning new software and working with the interior designs of commercial offices.

“Dr. Diane taught us many things, such as how to work in CET Designer for the first time, space planning for a diverse group of occupants, and the importance of incorporating Evidence-Based Design into our projects,” she said. “I truly enjoyed learning from Dr. Diane. She is very patient, and always made sure to be easily reachable whenever we needed her help. 

“I am enjoying the interior design program at Eastern. I love the environment; peers don't hesitate to help each other out and professors are passionate about what they teach and want to see their students succeed. 

“I (also) want to congratulate Olivia and Reina on their accomplishment in this student rendering competition. It was fun seeing our progress to the final product of our projects."

Raina Hammitte's third place winning rendering in the CET Designer contest
Raina Hammitte took third place in the contest.

Internship placements and competitive success

Guevara also praised program coordinator Deb de Laski-Smith.

“Our Interior Design program has a strong leader who allows our varying expertise as instructors to bring in true-to-life student assignments,” Guevara said. “The design studio courses are supported through an “Evidence Based Design” approach. These facets lead to strong student internship placement and top rankings in student competitions, with a good balance between strict assignment deadlines and flexibility for students who hold jobs outside of EMU.”

Grant said, “The Interior Design program at Eastern is amazing. All the professors truly care for the students, and they want to see us grow as designers. We’ve all become so close with the professors, and we’ve made some great friendships within the program.” 

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

October 28, 2020

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Media Contact:
Geoff Larcom