"I loved the idea of attending a college with a small campus that would allow me to build a connection with my professors."
Growing up in Central New York, Shelby McIntyre was familiar with Cazenovia College, and it was on her list of colleges she was interested in knowing more about. During her first campus visit, McIntyre met an interior design senior who spoke highly of the program and faculty. "That definitely helped a lot just having that encounter with a student who had gone through the program I was interested in," says McIntyre.
McIntyre was looking for an institution where she could study interior design, run cross country and stay close to home. Cazenovia College was the perfect fit. "I loved the idea of attending a college with a small campus that would allow me to build a connection with my professors," comments McIntyre.
In August 2013, McIntyre packed her suitcases and set off for her first year of college. McIntyre recalls how welcoming everyone was. The Move-In Day student crew unpacked her vehicle quickly, the faculty welcomed her as a new student, and the cross country team welcomed her into the family. McIntyre knew she made the right choice.
Choosing Interior Design
McIntyre's father is a contractor and he shared his passion for design with her at a young age, so she felt right at home in the interior design program. "I originally thought I wanted to study graphic design," shares McIntyre. "I didn't know interior design was an option. I knew I wanted to do something creative and I had always loved designing spaces. I was happy to learn that interior design was something I could study and learn more about."
Her favorite part about being an interior designer is the influence she has on people's lives through the designs she creates for the spaces they occupy. It's a powerful influence that affects people 24/7. McIntyre wants to use this influence to improve people's lives, something she explored during her Senior Capstone class.
"Capstone has been my favorite class because we are able to choose our own path and we get the opportunity to learn so much about one specific topic that we are passionate about," comments McIntyre. McIntyre chose to study biophilic design, a type of design that incorporates nature and natural materials into the human made environment.
Her capstone focused on how Generation Z's addiction to technology is taking away their connection to nature. For her capstone, McIntyre showed how office design influences people's lives and how nature can be incorporated into our interior spaces. Through these changes, people have the opportunity to reconnect with nature and wean off technology.
Leading up to her capstone project, McIntyre built on her classroom learning through internship experience. McIntyre completed two internships - one with Empire Bath and Kitchen in Utica, New York, and a second with SWANK by Design in Hamilton, New York. "I dove right into the whole process and worked directly with clients. They were both very different experiences," comments McIntyre. "Cazenovia College has given me access to all difference types of internships to gain hands-on experience."
Being a Team Player
McIntyre also believes she learned a lot that will help her in her future career by being a student-athlete. "Cross country taught me about team bonding, team building, and how to work with others, she explains. "Although it is an individual sport, you have to know where your teammates are, how they are developing, and how to move together and work as one unit. It is the same situation in the workplace."
McIntyre won the NEAC Cross Country Championships in 2014 and the Cazenovia College Female Athlete of the Year award her sophomore year. She comments, "I am satisfied with my personal development and how well our team did. It's sad that cross country is over for me after ten years, but it was a lot of fun to continue to compete in college."
Future Career Plans
After graduation, McIntyre plans to pursue her dream of becoming a LEED Professional. She credits the faculty at Cazenovia College for teaching her what she needs to know to hit the ground running in her career. "Professor Grace Tallini helped me make connections, and supported me throughout my internship. She is always encouraging and a great professor," she shares.
McIntyre sums up her Caz experience by saying, "I have enjoyed my four years at Cazenovia College and have learned so much more than I was anticipating. I have developed relationships with so many great people on this campus - friends, professors, teammates and classmates. I am going to miss them, but each and every one of them helped me develop during my time here. I will forever cherish the memories!"