Department of Interior Architecture Celebrates the Class of 2017 and Awards Top Students


At the end of every spring semester, Florida International University’s Department of Interior Architecture host an annual Master Thesis Reception and Awards Ceremony to celebrate the completion of a major scholarly achievement – graduate school.

The Interior Architecture program acknowledges this accomplishment and honors the graduate students at a special reception open to family and friends hosted by Department Chair, Janine King and Instructors Katie Rothfield and Phil Abbott. The event takes place after the students’ final presentations for the Master of Interior Architecture program.

This year, the event was held on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 in the BEA Gallery at the Paul L. Cejas Architecture Building. Over 150 guests, jurors from local design firms and department faculty attended the event to support and cheer on the Class of 2017.

Instructor Darci Pappano and Special Events Manager, Rebecca Longtemps, organized the event with help from graduate student, Viviana Zuluaga. Attendees enjoyed a spread of hors d’oeuvres, music and a video made by Zuluaga, which highlighted shared memories, study abroad and their time at FIU.

“I have learned so much from all my classmates and I will seriously miss and remember every single moment we shared! Class of 2017 are truly special beings and I’m so glad God and the universe placed you in my path,” said Zuluaga.

The Interior Department then preceded with an award ceremony honoring top students within their graduating class. Awards presented included design excellence, sustainable design and research.

“This group of students are very special and extremely independent. They have each worked at grounding themselves in the design profession through their research, inquisitiveness and the application is visible in their design work,” said Pappano.

Events like the Master Thesis Reception and Award Ceremony not only commend students for their effort and dedication but also, serves as a proper send off for future professional designers. Congratulations Class of 2017!

Listed below are the Spring 2017 Interior Architecture Award Recipients + Jurors:


Sustained excellence in Design Studio performance

Esperanza Muino

Milagros Canada

Jana Martinez


Highest Scholarly Performance

Esperanza Muino

Amada Alonso


Best performance in sustainable design

Fabiola Delgado

Carolina Lentijo


Highest level of Application of research in design process

Edna Desulme

Midori Shim

Anamary Fernandez


Bryan Liska, Liska Hospitality Design

Dawn Starling, Starling & Associates

Eva Fernandez-Villegas, Gensler

Kenzie Perry, Hospitality Purveyors Inc. / Sandals

Jason Tapia, Building Center No.3

Jenifer Briley, Jenifer Briley + Associates

John Naranjo, Echeverria Design Group

Jorge Mesa, Studio DADO

Lorraine Bragg, AECOM

Marlene Liriano, IA | Interior Architects

Romina Vignolo, Starbucks

Sarah Hartman, Hospitality Purveyors, Inc. / Sandals

Stephanie Casariego, CSpace Architecture

Stuart Debowsky, Debowsky Design Group

Teri D’Amico

Vera Fernandez-Villegas, Gensler

Yi Belanger, Stantec

To view pictures from the event please visit our Flickr page.

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