Eastern Michigan University Interior Design students place in the top three spots for the fourth consecutive year at National CET Student Awards

Kaitlyn Dorey's first place interior design rendering shows a space with large windows and greenery on the ceiling .
Kaitlyn Dorey's first place interior design in the CET Designer contest in the Student Rendering category.

YPSILANTI – Interior design students from Eastern Michigan University were recently honored with the top three spots during the 15th annual National CET Student Awards sponsored by the Swedish software company, Configura. 

EMU has participated in the National CET Student Awards student rendering category for the past five years. This is the fourth consecutive year that all three top spots have been awarded to EMU interior design students.

Allison DePottey's second place interior design rendering
Allison DePottey took second place with this rendering.

EMU’s interior design seniors Kaitlyn Dorey took first place, Allison DePottey was second, and Claire Heikka took third. 

The students used CET Designer, a software used worldwide to design buildings and interiors, resulting in an easy way to bring designs into a virtual reality (VR) headset. The CET software allows users to drag and drop components into a virtual environment while collecting data that can calculate pricing and even prevent user error. 

The year before, the interior design students worked on a studio five project (while learning the software simultaneously. With the assistance of EMU Assistant Professor and Interior Design Undergraduate Program Coordinator Diane Guevara, the students implement the software to design and create building spaces, in the end, creating a virtual reality view that is brought into a VR headset. 

Claire Heikka's third place interior design rendering
Claire Heikka took third place in the contest.

Annually, the interior design students present their projects and virtual reality view at EMU’s Undergraduate Symposium every March. This year’s interior design juniors have started to work in CET to redesign the second floor of EMU’s Roosevelt Hall in hopes of a future renovation, and their virtual reality views of Roosevelt Hall will be featured at EMU’s Undergraduate Symposium in March 2023. 

While students use the CET software to bring their ideas to life, the complexity of it could produce challenges. DePottey said that the challenges during the design process ultimately helped her gain confidence in her renderings.

 “The design process was challenging because this was the first time we created a corporate design. We had to think about how we wanted to space plan, including what spaces needed to be adjacent and what areas had to be more isolated,”  DePottey said. 

During the competition, students primarily worked through challenges like these and found solutions within themselves with the aid of Diane Guevara.

“When I teach interior design, and a challenge presents itself, I seek any way possible to help my students feel successful, ”Guevara said. In addition to teaching, her research focuses on spatial presence within virtual reality, and she enjoys hiring EMU students to assist with the research.  

Throughout rendering and submitting, students praised Guevara for her dedication and mentorship throughout the process. 

“Prof. Guevara has been a wonderful professor and mentor to all of us in the program. She encouraged us to submit our renderings so we could get out there and show off what we’re proud of, and because of this, three of her students took first, second, and third in the student rendering category. I believe this speaks volumes regarding her abilities as a professor and the interior design program here at Eastern,” said Dorey.

EMU’s Interior Design program is creating a fund to offer scholarships to upper-level students who seek various certifications. Scholarships will be awarded in January 2023. Learning programs like CET Designer give students more opportunities in the field of interior design. For more information about the fund, please visit the website. 

For more information about EMU’s Interior Design program, visit the program website.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 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. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

November 30, 2022

Written by:
Nautica Marshall

Melissa Thrasher