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Building a Career in Interior Design: Meramec Student Jenna Boyko

Jenna Boyko

While most students come to St. Louis Community College looking to transfer to a four year college, Jenna Boyko came to Meramec with her bachelor’s degree in hand.

“I attended Quincy University on a soccer scholarship and was unsure of what degree I wanted to pursue when I signed there. I was initially interested in occupational therapy and architecture. I started off taking a few subjects in each area. I ended up enjoying them both, but found out I received an art scholarship. So, I took this as an initiative to move in that direction. I ended up with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design with a minor in Computer Science.”

While happy with her degree, the economy and job market were not in very good shape. That was when Jenna, a graduate of St. Dominic High School in O’Fallon, Mo., decided to explore her interest in architecture. This decision led to Jenna exploring a different career path.

“After looking into Meramec, I was able to start out taking some architecture classes and interior design. Although I liked them both, I really enjoyed interior design and ended up taking that route,” she said.

Jenna is now working towards an associate degree in Interior Design as well as certification in Kitchen and Bath Design.

What classes were the most helpful?

“The first semester, I took Interior Design I, History of Architecture and Theory, History of Cultural Environments, Architectural Graphics and Mechanical and Electrical Systems. This, I felt, was a good foundation that helped me to grow. Every class builds and adds more character to my knowledge as a designer,” she said.

Jenna has drawn upon her graphic design and computer science background in her classes and her job in the interior design resource room, a library of textiles, samples and reference books used by interior design students as they plan and design their projects, by helping them with computer problems.

“Technology has become a big part in the interior design world, a lot more than it had before, not only in the design, but also in the presentation,” she said. “Although all design still starts with a pen and paper, all of the programs used for interior design are very important as I have come to know.”

She continued, “The more I know, the better I'll be and the stronger my resume will look.  Meramec has all of the programs right at my fingertips to learn and use. I have learned many of them. Design presentation has also been important and there has been a lot of support to become stronger in that area as well.”

In only her third semester at Meramec, Jenna won a Merit Award in the 2011 Daltile Interior Design Scholarship Competition, a national competition in which she competed against students from all over the country, including several four-year institutions.

“Going into the competition, I was proud of my work and felt it had a lot of strong points. I knew competing nationwide, it would be a hard competition and wasn't expecting anything, but was hopeful that something about my project would stand out.”
Her project was to design a residence for an American executive visiting a foreign country. Her inspiration was personal.

“My grandfather is from the Ukraine and so that inspired me to learn about the culture and the interiors and architecture of this country. The floor plan of my space was derived from a 3D model of a Ukrainian painting,” she said, “I really tried to explore the interior elements, colors and architecture of Ukrainian culture along with American conveniences and a few other elements, so as to appreciate the foreign culture but to welcome the visiting American executive. I used Daltile in the space, creating tile patterns mimicking patterns in Ukrainian fashion design and Ukrainian embroidery.”

Jenna credits the Interior Design program at Meramec for her success.

“Being only a 3rd semester student competing with four-year school students and winning a merit award, I think definitely says where this program has taken me in this short time.”

She added, “All of the teachers in the program were more than willing to help me prepare and make my project the best it could be for this competition. It was extremely helpful and appreciated.” 

With “award-winning designer” on her resume, the sky’s the limit for Jenna. So what is her dream job?

“I really enjoy a lot of different aspects of the interior design field and feel I could be happy in a lot of different areas. My only dream is that where ever I work, I can be an asset and bring a positive impact to the company.”