URI student has designs on interior design career

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Babylon, N.Y. native to graduate May 18

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 6, 2008 – Babylon, N.Y. resident Lisa Marie Carroll grew up in an artistic household and has a portfolio filled with her paintings, drawings and prints. But when she was deciding on a college major, she chose to study textiles because she thought it was a more practical field that would lead to a good job.

As she prepares to graduate from the University of Rhode Island on May 18, Carroll ended up with the best of both worlds – an exciting job in the home design field and a once-in-a-lifetime semester in Italy studying art and fashion.

“I put a lot of effort into trying to find my niche in my major, including doing independent studies with a design professor,” Carroll said. “I discovered that my niche is interior design. As I took apparel classes, I found I was more interested in design as structures or sculptures, so home design is more of what I like.”

Her trip to Italy in spring 2007 helped further refine her interests while also providing a rich and historic background for her artistic studies.

“I’m Italian-American, so studying in Italy is something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “Florence is also one of the biggest art capitals in the world with loads of good art programs, so I knew it would be beneficial to go.

“I had one art professor there who was just awesome! We did all of our painting outside and got to see historical sites that I’ve learned about since I was little. We also traveled a lot for classes and visited some major fashion museums.”

In preparation for her semester in Florence, Carroll lived in Siena, Italy for a month of intensive language experience with a teacher who didn’t speak English.

Upon returning to URI, Carroll was hired as an intern at the headquarters of Bed Bath & Beyond on Long Island where she served as the first intern ever hired in the product development division.

“Since I was their first intern, I took on a lot more responsibility than interns at other divisions,” she explained. “I helped develop existing products, like back-to-college and home décor products, interacted with domestic and foreign vendors, and did a lot of international communication. I really found my niche there and loved every minute of it.”

In between her travels and her internship, Carroll started a mentoring program at the URI Women’s Center called We’re Offering Women Wisdom (WOWW), which is an alternative to Greek life and helps women students get involved with philanthropic and community service projects around campus. She also worked for three years as a resident assistant providing guidance to freshmen students.

“Helping freshmen find the resources they need and deal with adjustment and family issues was a great experience,” she said. “It helped me grow as a person because it helped me learn how to deal effectively with people, which will help me in the business world.”

Following a two month break after graduation – during which she will help with orientation for incoming URI students and their families — Carroll will begin working full-time for Bed Bath & Beyond as an assistant buyer.

“I’ll be helping the buyers with product selection, working with designers and product developers, and going to vendor shows,” she said. “I definitely feel comfortable there and look forward to it. It’s an exciting next step.”