EL Questionnaire 2021


Name: Samantha Carson
Company: SGA
College/University: University of Massachusetts Boston / Mount Ida College
Year(s) of Graduation: 2020 MBA / 2014 BS Interior Design

What is your strongest personal quality?: My ability to put the ones I love/care about, before myself. Once you’re in my tribe, you’re there for life.
What is your strongest professional skill set?: Revit. I love learning new tricks, new ways to do things, how to be efficient or improve workflow.
Why did you choose to become an Interior Designer? I remember in high school there was a college fair in the cafeteria. Mount Ida had a table, I remember talking to the career person for about an hour. His pitch about the majors that Mount Ida was known for included Interior Design and that year, they had a 98% success rate of placing people into jobs in related fields. I spent a lot of time researching colleges, majors and what jobs I could do with the majors I was considering studying. The most important item on my priority list as I was doing my research, was being able to use my degree in my career and absolutely loving what I did every day. I wanted a career, not just a job. I wanted my career to be the light of my life, something that sparked passion inside of me. After hearing of interior design being so successful in that regard at Mount Ida, it pretty much sealed the deal for me. It felt like a good secure choice. Even though I didn’t know much about interior design, I didn’t have any CAD classes in HS, I did know my strengths. I also was extremely aware of my weaknesses and what I didn’t want to do. I knew I couldn’t sit at a desk all day every day doing the same things repeatedly. I also knew I was terrible at math. I loved talking to people, creating relationships, organization, structure and seeing things come to fruition. I also had this sense like I wanted to somehow help make the world a better place. After I got into Mount Ida College for interior design, I put everything I had into my undergraduate studies. No matter how hard things got, even though I couldn’t have ever imagined that this is what I signed up for. The deeper I got into my major, the more I could see myself succeeding professionally within the field. Again, paying attention to what I liked related to interior design and noting what I really didn’t like. After graduation, I had a few jobs in related fields, window sales, flooring show room.. all of which came with lessons learned that I carry with me today. Finally after almost giving up hope, I broke into an interior designer position at a firm and I was in love.
How would you describe your personal style?: In the office, I’m typically wearing skinny jeans, booties and a sweater with my hair up in a bun and my glasses on. I am definitely function first type person when it comes to what I’m wearing for the day.
What three things do you most geek out on?: (1) Networking & business development (2) Revit (3) Exams & licensure
What are you looking forward to as an IIDA Emerging Leader?: ?  I am so excited to meet some like-minded, ambitious people to expand my network.
What has been your go-to for de-stressing this year?: My fiancé and I got a lakehouse in Alton Bay, NH (Lake Winnipesaukee) so going up there on the weekends has been my saving grace. Also my sphynx kitten Pugsley. Obviously being hairless, he LOVES to snuggle which is just perfect for me.
What Advice do you have for designer students graduating?: Be fearless. Be your own advocate and don’t sell yourself short. Be honest with yourself when a career move is working in your favor and when it is no longer serving you. Always make sure your cup is full.
What is your favorite annual IIDA event?: I mean honestly who doesn’t LOVE the fashion show? I’m extremely competitive so this event is everything for me. It is so much work, grinding it out with your work tribe and seeing it all come to life in one night! 
How would you explain the difference between a professional Interior Designer vs Interior Decorator to a stranger?: Professional interior designers need to know enough about all the moving parts on the project to make sure everything is cohesive to create a functional, healthy indoor environment. Including, MEP, finishes, furniture, building codes, how physically and mentally people function within the space, ADA, doors/windows, fire protection, cleanability and maintenance, etc. Decorators, deal with strictly aesthetics and decorations or the outer most layer of interiors.