Born in Manhattan and raised in the Dominican Republic, Interior Architecture alumna Aida M. Lora moved to Miami in 2012 to pursue her dream of earning her master’s degree. After graduating from FIU in 2016 with a master’s in Interior Architecture, Lora worked with AECOM Miami as an interior designer. She is currently working at the Royal Caribbean Group as an architectural associate III and also recently founded Aida Lora LLC, a consulting Interior Design firm that provides educational workshops for interior designers and design services non-related to the cruise ship industry.
Graduation year: 2016
Major: Master’s in Interior Architecture
Why did you decide to come to FIU and study Interior Architecture?
In 2012, I completed my bachelor’s in architecture in my hometown, Santiago, Dominican Republic and decided to move to Miami to get my master’s degree. I researched different master’s programs throughout the country and FIU’s Interior Architecture program felt the most complete, fulfilling and exciting to me. The Cruise Ship and Yacht Certificate program especially attracted me.
What was your first job after graduating from FIU-IA?
During my senior year at FIU, I went to the career fair that the School of Architecture hosts every year, and AECOM, an international architectural and construction firm, interviewed me. During the summer of 2016, after I graduated, I got an offer from AECOM to work with the local Design Icon Lorraine Bragg on hospitality projects as an interior designer.
How did your experiences and your education at FIU-IA shape your life after college and your career path thus far?
My education at FIU taught me not only the skills I needed to succeed as an interior designer but also the importance of being present, building professional relationships and networking.
What is your favorite memory of your time at FIU-IA?
I loved the fact that each student had a studio desk assigned. I will never forget those long and late nights working at the studio with my classmates. Another great memory I have is participating in the study abroad program in La Spezia, Italy where I learned about naval design.
Did you have a favorite FIU-IA professor, mentor or class that really impacted your life?
Phil Abbot, I liked his methodology of teaching. He is patient and friendly but also sets boundaries for respect and responsibility.
What did you learn at FIU-IA that has served you well throughout your life?
It’s not only what you know, but also who you know and how you show yourself and your authenticity within the community.
What advice do you have for current or graduating students in FIU’s Interior Architecture program?
The most important piece of advice I have is to build relationships and meet people within our industry. Network, participate in all events, be present, support other designers, volunteer and shadow professionals as much as you can.
What does a ‘day in the life’ look like for you?
I am currently working remotely for The Royal Caribbean Group. My typical day is a day full of meetings with European partners, design firms, yard representatives and the local team. I also review design drawings and represent the Royal Caribbean Group ensuring that their branding standards are met in all design-related issues. It is very exciting to work in the Cruise Ship industry. When we were not in this pandemic, I used to travel at least twice a month to Europe for workshops, ship construction administration and managing. As a side hustle, I founded Aida Lora LLC, a consulting Interior Design firm that provides educational workshops for interior designers and design services non-related to the cruise ship industry.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
At the 2020 International Interior Design Association (IIDA) BRAGG Awards, I received the Star of the Year Award for my advocacy for the profession and community engagement during the difficult year. The BRAGG Awards are like the Oscar’s for the South Florida Design Community. This award meant a lot to me because these awards are named after my mentor, Lorraine Bragg, and I never thought I would win this award so early on in my career.
If you had to describe FIU-IA in three words, what would it be?
Inclusive, inspiring and supportive
If you were a student scholar recipient, what would you say to your donor today if you could?
Thank you for believing in me.
To learn more about FIU’s Interior Architecture program visit, https://carta.fiu.edu/interiors/.