MSU Interior Design Alumna Larissa Fedoroff on Life after College

Recent Michigan State University graduate, Larissa Fedoroff dedicated a great deal of time to her studies while she was here at MSU.

Larissa Fedoroff, 2014 Interior Design alumna

By: SPDC Communications

Recent Michigan State University graduate, Larissa Fedoroff dedicated a great deal of time to her studies while she was here at MSU. She not only majored in Interior Design at the School of Planning, Design and Construction (SPDC), with specializations in health promotion and bioethics, but she also majored in humanities and society.

Fedoroff was a featured student in an MSUToday article earlier this year, called “Cultivating Curiosity.” The article featured undergraduate students who participated in field research. The article highlights a number of dedicated students and explains the details of their work. Fedoroff was featured for her work on “Creating Effective Workspaces".

As an undergrad, Fedoroff joined forces with SPDC’s Dr. Young-Sook Lee, Professor of Interior Design, to conduct research around innovative entrepreneurs and how the design of their workspace influenced their work and moments of disengagement. Fedoroff focused on the attributes of MSU as a workplace and how its work environment compares to others around Michigan.

SPDC Communications spoke with Dr. Lee about her time with Fedoroff and the potential she sees in her. Dr. Young had this to say, “She is a very motivated, self-starter with genuine curiosity about the environment and its impact on human life. She will become a great leader of the Interior Design Profession in her career as she has showed a great leadership as a President of Interior Design Student Organization (IDSO) during her time at MSU.”

To see how well her hard work and commitment to education has paid off, we also reached out to Larissa, to see where her experiences have taken her post-graduation.

Tell me about your research with Dr. Young Lee as an undergrad student.
Having the opportunity to work with Dr. Lee was wonderful and this was the first time I had ever been a part of a research team. Our team sought to find connections between creativity and the innovative workplace and how the designed environment plays a role in that workplace. Dr. Lee and I had, specifically, contributed from an Interior Design standpoint, developing several criteria that are found in creative workplace design.

This led you to a position at a firm? What sort of research were you doing there?
Through completing research with Dr. Lee, I was able to continue working on this 18-month project at the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) just off of campus. Dr. Rex LaMore is the Director of the CCED (and a Professor at SPDC) and was on the project team for this research. He encouraged me to assist with the final phases of project completion and publication.

What aspect of your research did you find most valuable in relation to your current career?
Participating in that research project helped me grow as an Interior Design professional in general. Not only did I gain valuable job-related skills, but I have also earned a greater appreciation and understanding of how our workplace environment affects our performance, health and creativity.

Did you face any challenges in finding a job after graduation?
Definitely! I had taken a proactive approach to my job hunt, starting about 10 months before graduation. It wasn’t easy trying to find a job in the field you love with the minimum experience you can gain while in school. I think the most challenging part of the job hunt is not getting defeated when you don’t hear back from potential employers. In the end, it all worked out and I am grateful to be employed so quickly out of school.

Share some details about your position now.
I currently work at a firm called Anderson Miller Ltd. in Bloomfield Hills. We design four- and five-star hotels around the U.S. and internationally, including Four Seasons, Hilton’s, Hyatt’s, etc. It has been so much fun and definitely a big learning curve, but well worth it. It’s also wonderful to be working at a firm with several MSU Alumni.

What are your career goals? Have they changed since you graduated?
My career goal is to become a well-rounded and knowledgeable Interior Designer. I would love to become a Project Manager one day but I have no interest in owning my own firm. I don’t think my career goals have changed too much since graduation. If anything, they have become more realistic and possible based on what I have learned in my few months of employment.

How did your academic and/or extracurricular experiences at MSU prepare you for the workplace and your current position?
Participating in IDSO and professional organizations like the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) have definitely helped pave the way for my career. Going to networking events and meetings within these organizations allowed me to meet other professionals in the field and gain valuable contacts. I really believe that networking is critical for current students. Just in these past few months, other professionals have recognized me and remembered my name from an event I was at a year ago. Getting your name and face out there will be advantageous in the future. I really feel that MSU should keep providing networking events with professionals for the students.

Do you have any advice or recommendations for future ID students?
For my ID’ers: Stick with it and stay positive. I know classes can be overwhelming and there will be sleepless nights, but it truly is worth every minute of it. Absorb as much knowledge as you can during your time at MSU and participate in as many events and extracurricular experiences as you can. Unfortunately, our four years in college fly by all too quickly, so make the most of it and just know that you will be successful! Finally, you have so many alumni willing to give back and help, so do not hesitate to contact any of us with questions or just to chat!

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