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STLCC Programs Help Cottingham Realize Her Dreams

January 17, 2012

Daniela Cottingham  
STLCC graduate Daniela Cottingham has been employed
by RSI Kitchen and Bath since 2007.

While growing up in Brazil, Daniela Cottingham dreamed of becoming an architect to use her creative talents to bring happiness to others’ lives. En route to a bachelor’s degree, Cottingham’s life took a few unexpected turns, including marriage and a move to the United States.

Though she never completed the bachelor’s degree, Cottingham’s career ambitions took a new direction, thanks to St. Louis Community College. Cottingham chose STLCC because it was affordable and she could finish a program in two years.

“I thought that the ‘community’ college was a small place for people like me,” she said. “To my surprise, I found a spacious campus with a world of possibilities.”

Cottingham took English as a Second Language and architectural technology courses at the Meramec campus, and got a job with an architecture firm after completing her associate degree in architectural technology.

“The company I worked for did a lot of kitchen expansions and master bath additions, and I became interested in those areas and decided to go back to school to get a certificate in kitchen and bath design,” Cottingham said. “After working as an assistant to an architect, I was not designing on my own and craved that – my instincts were screaming – and STLCC’s kitchen and bath design program satisfied those cravings.”

After she earned her kitchen and bath design certificate, Cottingham joined RSI Kitchen and Bath and has been employed there since March 2007.

“I wanted to be working in the area of my passion, and now all the designs are mine,” she said. “I really appreciate that the college pushed me to be up-to-date with technology and prepared us for the real world. To this day I apply what I learned in my job.”

Having instructors who were professionals in the field made a significant difference, Cottingham noted. “They pushed me to the next level when I needed to go further, and they all had real-life experiences to share.”

Individuals who have artistic as well as technical talents are invited to learn more about careers in interior design/kitchen & bath design at a special information session hosted by STLCC. The session about these programs is slated 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in Room 102 A&B at the Wildwood campus, 2645 Generations Drive.

STLCC’s kitchen and bath certificate program is the only one in Missouri that is fully accredited by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Last fall, STLCC and the University of Missouri-Columbia signed an articulation agreement whereby students who complete STLCC’s Associate in Applied Science degree in Interior Design will be able to seamlessly transfer to MU to complete the Bachelor in Human Environmental Sciences degree in Architectural Studies, strengthening their credentials and prospects for employment in the very competitive design and construction marketplace.

Registration for the information session is requested; call 314-539-5002 or visit www.stlcc.edu/CareerInfoSessions to register.

For more information about this session and others later this spring, call 314-539-5002 or e-mail AskUs@stlcc.edu. Individuals with disabilities who have accommodation needs should call 314-539-5002.