Kent State Prepared Graduate for a Future in Interior Design

Working closely with faculty and other students helps prepare Kent State students for future careers

Kent State University graduate Madelyn Orcutt fondly remembers what inspired her to enroll as a student in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. For Orcutt, an interior designer who works for Richardson Design in Cleveland, the university's personal touch, beautiful campus and proximity to her Canton, Ohio, home influenced her decision.  

Kent State Works Stacked Graphic

The deal was sealed after her tour of the college.

“I loved the brand-new building,” said Orcutt, who graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. “It was nice to see all the student desks and the very collaborative nature. So, just seeing that environment when I came on the tour really helped.”

According to Orcutt, Kent State lived up to its promises. She had the opportunity to “see the world” as she traveled in the U.S. and overseas as part of Kent State’s education-abroad program. In 2019, Orcutt participated in a 10-day workshop in New York City, and in 2020, she studied in Florence, Italy, where Kent State's education-abroad program is housed in a renovated 18th-century palazzo in the heart of the city. There were many extraordinary experiences that made a major impact on Orcutt’s education at Kent State, she said.

“I did get to study in Florence while I was in college, and I liked that [the] program was really set up to encourage us to get out and see the world,” she said. “We got to study with Italian professors and learn about the design and history of Florence, which was awesome.” 

Orcutt also traveled with other students and faculty during the workshop in New York, in a partnership with the Lebanese American University. During that experience, she met people of different cultures and saw design firms at work.  

“While I was in New York, I was also a research assistant, so I got to partner with one of our faculty members in the interior design program,” she said. “We worked closely for two years developing and understanding design research and history.” 

Beyond traveling in the U.S. and abroad, Orcutt worked as a studio course assistant and a career peer. She also participated in the Kent State Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program, through which she presented her paper, “Performing Taste: The Queer Modernity of Designer Elsie de Wolfe.” 

Orcutt’s engagement and involvement as a student led to being recognized by Metropolis Magazine as one of its “Future 100” recipients for the class of 2021.

Madelyn Orcott, far right, studied abroad in Florence, Italy, as a Kent State student.

Before graduation, Orcutt interned at Bialosky, an architecture and design firm in Cleveland, where she worked with architects, interior designers and engineers, which opened her eyes to how the different disciplines collaborate.

In 2021, Orcutt joined Richardson Design, a small design firm that partners with a lot of architects in the area. “The one thing I noticed while working in Cleveland and partnering with a lot of architecture firms in the area is that Kent State students are really well known, and I work with a lot of people who are Kent grads,” Orcutt said. “They’re always looking for interns who are Kent grads. They know that Kent State produces the quality and professionalism within their students that people really [want to] attract.” 

Now, Orcutt is responsible for instilling that same level of skill and professionalism in new design students at Kent State. She was excited when the faculty reached out and asked her to teach a first-year design course.  

 “I thought it was a great way for me to continue to push my goals as a professional, as well as a person within the interior design community,” she said. “I was really pleased with my time at Kent State. I thought I learned a lot, and I was very grateful that I was able to give back and push students to continue to see and be inspired by design.” 

POSTED: Friday, July 28, 2023 03:22 PM
Updated: Monday, July 31, 2023 11:31 AM
April McClellan-Copeland