Bronco Spotlight: Brooke Barlond

Brooke Barlond

Bachelor of Science in interior design, 2020

Office Planner at Lockheed Martin Space

In my role as an office planner, I am responsible for assisting with projects on our campus in Littleton, Colorado.  I select furniture and finishes for projects of varying sizes and scopes.  I also help increase productivity for different programs by planning and facilitating the addition, removal, or movement of furniture to fit the needs of the users of the space. 

If you had a campus job or internship, how did they impact your career development?

My senior year at WMU, I had was an interior design intern at Eckert Wordell Architects in Kalamazoo.  My internship helped prepare me for the industry by allowing me to gain real-world experience that you just can't get in a classroom. Without that experience, I would have been really lost as I entered the industry as an emerging designer.

What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?

I participated in Southwest Michigan Design MIX - facilitated by Southwest Michigan First.  These events allowed me to network within the design community and exposed me to different aspects of design beyond just interiors, architecture, and furniture. I was also an active member of IIDA - an international commercial interior design association. Through IIDA, I was able to participate in events that allowed me to learn even more about the industry.  I was involved in the Interior Design Student Organization (IDSO), and I was president of IDSO my senior year.  This experience helped me build even more connections and gain experience working with others in a professional capacity.  Because the interior design program is so small, our community is very tight-knit.  Without the friends I made in the studios, there is no way I would have been successful in the program.  We held one another accountable, pushed each other when we needed it, and created a bond rooted in our mutual obsession for all things related to interior design.  Finally, my educators played a huge role in my development - through their encouragement I challenged myself more, which made me the confident designer I am today.

Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success?

I think the biggest impact on my success has been my ability to connect with people.  I love to encourage others and see growth in the people around me. During my time in the studios, you could almost always find me wandering the halls to see what other designers were up to, which would usually result in me lending a hand whenever someone needed it. More importantly, though, by seeing what other designers were up to, I was exposed to designers with skills that differed from my own, which pushed me to keep learning and growing.

What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?

I think that my broad range of interests helped lead me to interior design. I had taken classes in psychology and graphic design before starting at WMU, and originally was going to go into teaching because I love learning that much.  Interior design is a really great mix of all of that.  Most people just think of the creativity that goes into design, but there is a lot of psychology involved in designing for a user.  Really, the main job of a designer is to educate - educate clients about things that will impact their spaces, educate other designers because not one person can hold all of the knowledge, and to educate future designers through hands-on experiences. 

What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?  

Participate in everything you can - go to new places, go to networking events, join professional organizations. These experiences can change your outlook and you might end up somewhere you never thought possible.  Along with that, get involved in your community!  Talk to people, ask for help when you need it, and lend a hand when someone else needs it.  You can't know everything, but if you start connecting with more people, you'll have access to so many more resources and so much more knowledge. 

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