Major: Interior Design
College of Art and Architecture
Hometown: Brush, Colorado
A product of Colorado, Jamie Christensen appreciates nature and feels a strong obligation to protect it. In fact, it is this sense of environmental responsibility that initially drove her to the University of Idaho.
“When I was researching colleges, the University of Idaho’s focus on sustainability really caught my eye,” she said. “I wanted to go into interior design, and I was interested in learning how to design in a way that would be beneficial to the earth’s future.”
Now in her third year in the interior design program at Idaho, Christensen is becoming well-versed in the latest sustainable design, or “green” design, principles. “But there’s a lot you can’t learn in a classroom,” she said.
This summer, Christensen saw firsthand how sustainable design concepts are being applied in the profession during her internship at Denver-based Jordy/Carter Furnishings, where she assisted in office design and space planning for a large insurance company and other corporations.
“The experience opened my eyes to what people are actually doing in the industry,” she said. This included learning to work within the constraints of a budget.
“Budget is a primary concern for most clients. I realized that it’s important to educate clients about the benefits of sustainable design, and to help them understand that sustainable practices – like using natural lighting for energy efficiency and reusing office furniture – will not only have a positive impact on the environment, but also on their bottom line.”
Christensen completed a second summer internship at Alpha Design Group, a small agency in Greeley, Colorado. She worked alongside the firm’s principal on designs for the owners of the Colorado Rockies baseball team and other residential clients.
“It was great to get practical experience in both commercial design and residential design,” she said. “I now have a better idea about what I want to do in my own career.”