Leading by Design
Robert Torres always had an interest in interior design and how it influences everyday life. “We live our entire life traveling from one interior to another and learning how to control and influence those spaces made me very excited for a career in the field,” he says.
He arrived at New York Tech in 2018 after transferring from Binghamton University. Since then, he’s enjoyed many successes here, including becoming one of the first of three recipients of the inaugural International Interior Design Association (IIDA) New York Chapter Hazel Siegel Scholarship, which is awarded to design students that exhibit outstanding leadership qualities as well as their commitment as volunteers to the chapter through the Knowledge Forum Committee. “When I received the news that I was awarded the scholarship, I was extremely excited,” he recalls.
Torres learned about IIDA through New York Tech alumni. He joined the organization and became involved with the Knowledge Forum, organizing events for interior design students in the New York metropolitan region to introduce them to design professionals.
The scholarship also included an all-expense-paid trip to the IIDA Texas Oklahoma chapter SHIFT Student Conference in January 2022. The experience exposed him to the industry and helped broaden his professional network. “I am thankful for the professional network that I have developed and the perspective I have gained at such an early stage of my career,” he says. “Be sure to keep in mind that school is a part of your career journey. The real world is quite different from academia, and the sooner a student can interact with professionals, the better.”
As he prepares to graduate in May 2022, he is considering a few full-time offers he’s received, but he also plans to pursue a master’s in social work. “My ultimate goal is to connect mental health and design,” he says. “I currently have acceptance letters from multiple schools in the New York metro area, such as Columbia University, but I am still undecided.”
Torres credits New York Tech for helping him develop his interior design skills, saying his experiences as a student will be the tools and resources that will help him succeed. And that includes the friends he made, who he says will always have a special place in his heart.