By Linda Lombardi
Mentors offer advice and help open doors, but the next generation of retail design professionals first needs to finish college. This is where PAVE continues to make a difference.
Emma White, a senior at Appalachian State University, is one of many PAVE student success stories. She did not discover her passion for interior design until the end of her freshman year. This meant that she faced an additional, costly fifth year of studies because there was no way to complete the necessary course work within her initial four-year plan.
PAVE Financial Aid Recipient Emma White
School: Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
Expected graduation: 2017
Program: Interior Design, Department of Applied Design
Expected degree: Interior Design, with a minor in Marketing
“I was determined to pass portfolio review and begin the interior design program, regardless of the additional year, because I knew it would be worth it in the long run,” White says. “To make this extra year possible, I immediately began to research financial aid opportunities to offset the additional college expenses I was taking on myself.”
White applied for, and was awarded, financial aid from PAVE, and she expects to graduate in 2017. The support from PAVE not only helped her with the overall cost of her tuition and living expenses, but also helped with the cost of crucial tools for her design studios.
PAVE, the Planning and Visual Education Partnership, provides financial aid and scholarships, supports educators and schools, sponsors design competitions, and facilitates professional development for emerging talent in retail design.
The foundation has awarded $200,000 in scholarship and financial aid to retail design students in need since 2006 and another $134,000 to accredited design schools to support programs in retail design since 2008. PAVE has also channeled approximately $400,000 since 2006 to support design competitions that motivate students to create their best work and be assessed by us, their future employers.
“Our ability to support students significantly increases each year because of the support of the retail industry, ” says Harry Cunningham, president of PAVE. “On Dec. 7, our dedicated colleagues—retailers, design firms, manufacturers, and suppliers—will come together at the annual PAVE Gala to simultaneously have a great time and support a cause we all agree is vital to our industry: education and experience.”
White, who anticipates graduating with a major in interior design and a minor in marketing, proudly identifies herself on LinkedIn as a recipient of support from PAVE and is actively involved with one of this year’s design competitions.
“As an interior design student, I have always been interested in the way the built environment influences occupants,” White says. “I have really enjoyed working on retail design projects because they are a seamless blend of interior design, graphic design, and marketing techniques.“
Sounds like someone I want to hire! But first, let’s help Emma and other students finish college and get the best retail design training possible. Join us at the annual PAVE Gala Dec. 7, and let’s continue to support the next generation of retail design professionals.
Linda Lombardi is 2016 PAVE Gala VP and VP of global store design and visual merchandising for Godiva Chocolatier.