Building Opportunity

Flora Barndt, Interior Architectural Design

Flora Barndt and her husband own a construction company that specializes in kitchen and bathroom design. When their children became old enough for her to return to full-time work, she decided to first expand her professional skills at SMC.

“The Interior Architectural Design program worked perfectly for me,” she says. The hands-on studio classes helped her build upon her artistic talent by adding computer-aided design (CAD) to her repertoire. Now Flora employs her CAD rendering skills to enhance the couple’s business as well as cultivate clients of her own.

While working with her husband and in team projects at SMC had already instilled a strong sense of collaboration, Flora further honed these skills at an International Interior Design Association (IIDA) competition, in which her team earned second place. The competition places five students from different institutions on each team.

“Working on a team teaches you to be flexible, but you also need to know when to take charge if something’s not going well,” she says. “Decisions sometimes need to be made on the spur of the moment, without crushing the other person’s idea.” Since most of her teammates in the competition were from four-year institutions, the experience also demonstrated to Flora that her SMC education could match — or even surpass — training from competing programs.

“I feel so empowered by the skills I’ve learned at SMC,” she says. “I’m more confident with clients, because I know I can deliver what they want.”