A Passion for Design
“I learn something new about my passion every day,” says interior design major Katrina “Kat” Alvarez about her classes at New York Tech. “The projects teach you resourceful problem solving, critical thinking, surveying existing conditions, and the ability to express your intent.”
One of Alvarez’s favorite things is the way faculty and staff are dedicated to taking care of young scholars. “I have never experienced a school with such a diverse community of dedicated people supporting its students,” she says. This became especially true for Alvarez when she started working with her mentor, Gertrudis (Trudy) Brens, visiting assistant professor and interim director of interior design at New York Tech. “She urged me to appreciate my unique value as a female minority and single mother,” says Alvarez. “She recognized my potential and advised me to be bold by utilizing unconventional techniques such as my experience with mental health and wellness to integrate into concepts.”
As a future interior designer, Alvarez is committed to sustainability in materials and processes. “I am devoted and will research to propose more efficient designs rather than convenient proposals to future clientele,” she says, adding that New York Tech has taught her a lot about how to put these goals in motion in her work.
Alvarez is also a single mother and calls her son her “inspiration.” Raising him has shaped her goals as an interior designer, too. “Raising a child with autism spectrum disorder, I have an intimate awareness of how design affects our lives. People with disabilities are an underrepresented demographic in the design industry,” says Alvarez. “Professionals adhere to the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] regulations forgetting the experience is not comparable. My calling as a designer will be to challenge that notion and to integrate a more comprehensive and sustainable approach that is inclusive for all demographics.”
Alvarez says she has never regretted transferring to New York Tech, saying that her best piece of advice is to be dedicated to your work: “Nobody is going to advocate for your education the way you will.”
For her Interior Environments III class, Katrina Alvarez designed a Natural Wellness Museum, which promotes a more communal integration of people and wellness. “I wanted to integrate people into a natural setting and provide entertainment while fostering a social environment,” she says.