From intern to interior designer – RMCAD alumna lands dream job

Bethany Peña Charleston, interior design alumna, was drawn to RMCAD because of the school’s sustainable design perspective and its tight knit community. As an out-of-state student, she took the leap to move out to Denver in 2018 to attend and has had no regrets. Now as a graduate and employee of Elsy Studios, a commercial interior design firm, she is reflecting on her years in school, which helped her get to where she is today.

How has your RMCAD education helped you in the workplace?
RMCAD really helped me understand how the design process works from start to finish. We didn’t just focus on the design aspect, but rather every step of the design process. I learned everything from how to start construction documents, to how to pick finishes for my client’s needs. I learned how to look at either an old or new space and see the full potential. In addition, all of the courses were very hands-on, and my teachers were able to provide great insights into what I needed to know. It really is important that our professors have the field experience they do, because they know what the field is like and are able to help us avoid any deer in the headlight moments while starting our careers.

How did RMCAD help you land your first job?
Through RMCAD’s internship program, I was able to connect with Elsy Studios, where I worked part time while in school and then transitioned into a full time employee. RMCAD helped me secure the internship and also helped guide me through the process by making sure the team at Elsy was involved in my internship, and I was also involved in their team. The internship process really helped me find my dream job and overall was a really good transition into the career that I wanted.

Why would you recommend RMCAD’s interior design program?
I would recommend the interior design program to anyone interested in design. I really liked the sustainable aspect of it, and even if this isn’t one of your initial desires, it is really nice to go into the field with more knowledge of sustainability. I really enjoyed all the studios, teachers and classes – all of which helped me easily get my foot in the door with design. For future students, I recommend taking the time through this program to really observe good and bad design, inside and outside of the classroom, to help further perfect your skills.

To learn more about interior design at RMCAD, check out our online and on campus programs. We also recommend reading A day in the life of an interior design student for more information. In addition, visit Career + Alumni Services for additional insight on internship opportunities.

*This story was updated and edited for clarity and brevity.